Death Valley 2015, Titus Canyon and Racetrack

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It was going to be my last full day in Death Valley National Park for this trip, and it was going to be a full one, so I got started at 5:30 and was on the road just after 6:00.  I spent the first half of the day driving and checking out Titus Canyon Road.  There are portions of the road that are barely one vehicle wide so the entire route, except the last two miles of the road is one way.  The road actually starts outside the park.  It was a clear crisp morning in the high 20’s with just a few low clouds thrown in. The road was in fairly good shape and I was the only one on it starting out.  It climbs up the back side of the Grapevine Mountains and crests at Red Pass before dropping down toward Death Valley. Before too long you end up […]

Death Valley 2015, Badwater

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After a day to myself hiking Marble Canyon it was time to hit a few busier spots in the valley.  But first the drive out. I stopped by the Devils Golf Course first.  Nobody was playing golf and I forgot my clubs but I did get some good shots of the salt upheavals that characterize the area.   My next stop was Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the U.S. at -282 feet. Badwater is a salt playa most of the time.  During rains it can become shallow lake.  During my visit it was dry, but there was plenty of water just under the surface and I was constantly breaking through the salt crust to the mud below.  It is quite an expanse of white. After an hour or so wander on the salt pan I moved on to the next stop, Natural Bridge.  There were a ton of people […]

Death Valley 2015, Marble Canyon

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My top priority during my first real visit to Death Valley National Park was a hike through Marble Canyon.  I’d read the description and seen the pictures, so my first full day in the park was going to be checking out the canyon.  I made the bouncy 12 mile drive into the trailhead the day before so I could spend the daylight hours hiking the canyon.  Days are short in December, you have to take advantage of the few hours you are given. The canyon immediately narrows with rock walls rising in all directions and lots of signs of high water events of years past.  If you look closely you start to see signs of some extreme water flows which really get you thinking about the formation of this canyon over the years. Getting up close, there are interesting layers as well as crystals and intrusions to be seen everywhere in […]