This was my fourth or fifth trip into Death Valley. It is understandable how someone might quickly drive through the main roads of this national park and not see the beauty hidden in this barren land. The sights worth seeing in Death Valley often require one to get up for sunrise or wait until sunset. On the plus side, you also are not going to get the Yosemite type traffic jams. At midday much of this land looks like a xero landscaped yard in an upscale part of Arizona, with not a single green sprig to be seen and the hard ground covered with smooth tumbled rocks. Yet within this arid desert one can always find some water and, hopefully, some beautiful sunsets and memorable reflections.
When you click on “Continue Reading” a slide show of eleven photos will play at the top of the article.
All of these water photos were taken with me wearing knee high rubber boots. I am walking around in the mud and water, then standing still for a while allowing any ripples from my movements to subside, racing against the setting sun the entire time.
A seldom touted benefit to visiting Death Valley is getting to play the role of amateur geologist and using phrases like alluvial fans while driving through the park…. These are massive floes of dirt and rocks from severe rainstorms which have slid down from higher peaks to the valley floor, often ending up in the shape of a fan. It is obvious to even the casual observer what is happening over many thousands of years. The valley floor is filling up with rocks and sand from higher elevations. Here is a photo from a Bakersfield College Geology class.
For this trip my goal was to visit the lesser known sections of the park, like the charcoal kilns which once made fuel for smelting in the local mines. Our arrival at these kilns coincided with a rare snowstorm. Some of the photos in this posting of the more well known sites such as Zabrisky Point and the Mesquite Sands Dunes were taken on previous trips, and are included here to give a better overall view of the beauty of Death Valley National Park.