We left Trona Pinnacles on Monday and drove a couple of hours along a lonely road to enter the West side of Death Valley, near Panamint Springs. As per our normal routine, we didn't really know where we were going, as far as camp sites...we just headed into the heart of the park to check things out.
We decided to dry camp in Furnace Creek for at least a couple of days while we did some further exploring. "Surely there is more to this park than what we have seen thus far," is what we were thinking. And, while Death Valley is very unique, and photographically speaking would be kind of amazing in inclimate conditions, we thought of it more as "she has a good personality" this time around! Lots and lots of flat, dry, colorless and oftentimes lifeless land! It is the lowest and hottest and driest place in the United States...and those superlatives were fairly unremarkable on our first visit here.
Fortunately, it wasn't the hottest, it was, in fact, quite lovely. And it was low...we visited the lowest spot, Badwater, at 282 feet below sea level. And it was dry...so dry that we found our way to the only source of water in the area, the Furnace Creek Inn's warm mineral pool, several times during our stay!
We also visited Artist Palette and though it wasn't overwhelmingly colorful, the muted tones did provide me with some inspiration.
|Artist Palette...this would be remarkable with a little bit of rain...|
Mike went out to Zabriskie Point for sunrise, and again for this beautiful sunset...
We hiked around out at Mesquite Flats (ironically named tall, rolling sand dunes)...
|Love the rim lighting on the front edge of that dune...|
|Mike, doing his thing!|
|I love the geometry of this image...|
And we did a fun, moderate hike up Golden Canyon (and into some tight, twisty canyons) to Red Cathedral for a pretty cool panoramic view...
|Plenty of sunshine!|
|Twisty, up and down canyons!|
|These loose rocks were not my favorite hiking surface, but the canyons were pretty cool!|
|We thought it was a whale! Do you see it!|
|The view from Red Cathedral|
|Tilted up solar panels in order to maximize the low sun.|
|We took out the screen in the back to optimize the view (and also took out one from the side)!|
|We had fun creating this image...me on the inside with alternating lights and Mike on the outside taking the shot!|
We didn't write Death Valley National Park off...it certainly had it's charms (we ended up staying for 6 nights!)...next time we will likely find a good boondocking spot (look for the Pads on Campendium), hang out at the pool again, do a little more hiking and simply enjoy the quiet.