Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Great Becky and Natalie Adventure 2010 - - - Part 3

Death Valley - the lowest point in North America greeted us with some impressive wind; on the order of 50 mph (we were told it was closer to 100 mph up on the racetrack!!!) - as a result of this, the entire basin was pretty much a sandstorm when we arrived. We couldn't even SEE badwater, it was just a cloud of brown. So, we investigated the visitor center for a bit and grabbed a beer and pizza at the Furnace Creek Saloon before driving up into the Panamints to meet up with my Rockbuddy who'd saved us a camp site up at Wildrose - still windy, but no sand!

before entering Death Valley we stopped at Death Valley Junction to wash the sand out of my retinas, as I could no longer see (and consequently drive) by that point

the sand storm was still raging once we entered the park - I had to push the Jeep door open on my side with both feet!!!

the next morning at Wildrose camp - note the snow behind us, it was in fact pretty chilly up there

thankfully the sandstorm had quit (though the wind hadn't) so we were able to do a few hikes while we were there - I love the contrast of the highs and lows in Death Valley - snow on the mountains, 100% evaporation leaving behind salt in the basin

behind blown around by the wind at Badwater Basin

hike 2 - at the Natural Bridge - gave us some spectacular views back down into the valley

then we investigated Salt Creek for the pupfish that live in this most extreme of environments - not only a hot salty creek, but also a really bitc*y park volunteer, poor fishies!

then finally, the absolute best (and our final hike of the day), was Mosaic Canyon (any guesses as to why it is called that?) - it was amazing!!!

great views, great rocks, really astounding part of the park that I'd never even heard of before

the contrast of the breccia on beautifully polished smooth banded marble, was really outstanding - the Romans would have wanted this marble for sure

this 360 gives a good solid view of: 1. the wind, 2. the sandstorm in the valley, 3. the nasty thunderstorm we were driving rapidly away from, and 4. the sunny spot on the horizon we were aiming for to avoid flash floods

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