Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Road Trip Report 7: Death Valley Photo Essay

This photo is a tribute Cath Barton's cover photo "Eleven" of Prime Number Magazine's Issue 11 that also features my essay "Waiting in the Dark." I was about to take a picture of my shadow on the Salt Flats at Badwater in Death Valley when my daughter walked up and, as our shadows aligned, I was reminded of Barton's picture.

Driving into Death Valley from the east on SR190 at sunrise - about 5:45 a.m.

Going lower..

Badwater Pond - salty rather than poisonous as it is fed by water leaking from an aquifer that picks up minerals before it pools at this lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (282 feet below sea level). Rare snails live here.

View of the Salt Flats at Badwater

I kept touching the salt as it looked moist but it's not. Only snow and ice come close to those crystal formations.

My son watches the shade recede as the sun rises over the mountain.

Powerwashing the visitor parking lot at Badwater - obviously fresh water isn't that much of a luxury, even in Death Valley.

Devil's Golf Course where, at 6:30 in the morning, a hot wind already whistles in the spires of the eroded rock salt.

Artist's Drive where rocks are splashed in pink, verdigris, yellow and lavender, thanks to mineral deposits.


  1. The location names (Artist's Drive, Badwater Drive) are almost as good as the scene itself.

    Really enjoying your road trip.

  2. Your pictures are incredible. What a memorable trip you had.

  3. I haven't been there for a long time, but I love Death Valley! Your photos really captured the place and feeling of it very well. So smart to be there at sunrise, too!

  4. I love Death Valley. I was there last January doing research for a novel. There is so much beauty in the landscape and there's an incredible amount of variation. It looks like nothing grows or lives there but that isn't true - hundreds of species of plants and animals. It's pretty amazing. Anyone who hasn't been...get thyself to Las Vegas, rent a car and go go GO. Don't forget to stop in Amargosa...


  5. LOVE the pictures. Stunning and you really captured the essence of it all. I am dying to take a trip!

  6. Wonderful photos! I could feel the heat and the dryness. Thanks for taking us along on your road trip. I'm looking forward to the next stop.

  7. Bridgette, Jillian, Julia, Natalie, Patricia - I'm so glad you appreciate the photos! Death Valley is really special.

    Lesann - tell me more about that novel! Does it take place in Death Valley?

  8. I love Death Valley....JB and I need to return. I am really glad you and your family got to experience that place. I hope you were able to see that there was still much life in DV. We were able to spot wild flowers that actually managed to thrive in the harsh landscape. We also saw several lizards scampering about.