Monday, 30 June 2014

Death Valley

Death Valley is a place I've often heard about and wondered about. Stories of it being so hot, people can die there if they travel through it and don't have enough water. Stories of how desolate and remote it is, that the lowest point in the western hemisphere is there, and so on. My imagination ran riot, and almost everything I'd pictured was not as it is when I got there and saw it for myself!
Yes, that's me at the entrance with someone I've known a long time  
The sky was clear and blue, and although it was Spring (April) the days were hot. The terrain was all desert but there were some stunning rock formations and mountains and plenty to see in the
National Park before reaching the Valley itself.

At one place there was an important warning to take note of too! No - I didn't see any.

Big vista of Death Valley, with its white salty surface
The salty ground is hard and crunchy - it's naturally crytallised salt and you can get close to it at Badwater Basin, the lowest point in Death Valley and in the western hemisphere. The dry atmosphere is a contributory factor to finding so much salty ground. At Badwater Basin you can walk by, but not on, the salt. In fact, it forms a covering over brackish water at this point, and it would be unsafe to try to walk out on it.

At the very lowest point
There are some amazing colours in the rocks. One such place is called the Artist's Palette, where the rock has a greenish tinge. Zabriskie Point was by far the most spectacular viewpoint for me, with rocks folded neatly into interesting pleats and ripples.

Two views of Zabriskie Point - an amazing place
A final view down the Valley looking down on its salty expanse and seeing for miles....and miles....and miles. A memorable experience.

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