Breathing Life Into the Death Valley

During our stay in Pahrump, Nevada, we decided to drive out to Death Valley. It was early October and the day was gorgeous enough to bring out this ultralight and its two riders (yep, there are two people on that little flying machine!):

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Though it’s easy to see how stunning this amazing landscape is, it’s much harder to comprehend how vast it is, especially via a photo.

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But I’m game to try. In this photo, the road running along the valley floor is captured….

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…but it’s impossible to see, so first I’ll show you where the road is…

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…and now I’ll zoom in and blow this up so you can see the road a bit more clearly:

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So you see, what you thought was the road was the shadow of the mountain — the road is that teeny, thin strip just outside the line of the shadow. Whew! Feeling tall 🙂

Of course, seeing something from this distance is like not experiencing it at all, so we climbed back in the truck and drove into the basin.

Now, instead of stretching out below us, the valley surrounded us, reaching as far as we could see:

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Time to take an even closer look. The Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level (the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere), so the earth isn’t dirt… it’s salt:

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What else is here? Water. Yep. Pools of ancient water — water from far away glaciers that’s taken years and years and years to seep into the underground aquifer before coming back up here:

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The concentration of salt makes the water undrinkable, but it’s nonetheless a thriving environment for pickleweed, aquatic insects, and larvae. Unfortunately, it’s also become a trash receptacle…. 😦

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The Artists Drive took us past hills that looked as though they’d been painted…

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…and of course they had… just not by people.

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About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
This entry was posted in Attractions, Cool Experience, Hiking, National Parks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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