Death Valley Photography by Julieanne Kost

Zabriskie Point

We started the trip at Zabriskie Point, watching as the sunrise slowly revealed the canyons with their magnificent colors and textures.

Details of the clay and mudstone badlands at Zabriskie Point.

Furnace Creek Wash

Walking to the edge of Zabriskie Point, you can see Furnace Creek wash at the bottom.

Making sure that we were carrying extra water with us at all times, we decided to brave the heat and hike down into into the wash. Although at first glance it may appear lifeless, if you look carefully, you might be surprised at what you can find.

Less than a day after the rain, the water was quickly disappearing, leaving gracefully curling mud as a reminder of the previous storm.

Looking towards Zabriskie point from the bottom of the wash.

After hiking out of the wash, we came across three coyotes. It was as incredible how well they blended in with their surroundings.

Twenty Mule Team Canyon

It would have been fun to explore Twenty Mule Team canyon. Unfortunately, because of recent flooding, the road was closed and hiking was not permitted through the soft earth.

Erosion has washed away the softer clay, resulting in the canyon's interesting shapes.

Mosaic Canyon

Bypassing Stovepipe Wells, we turned into Mosaic Canyon and started hiking the trail. The colors and textures of the rocks were striking.

As was evident by the dark, damp, rock at the bottom of the canyon, the water had rushed through these narrow slots, leaving us to imagine what the area might look like during a flash flood.
These distinct rock walls were all within a mile of one another.
The colors of the walls change dramatically as the lighting filters through the canyons.

With all of the incredible views, it's sometimes difficult to remember to look where you walk. A baby rattlesnake sighting was a gentle reminder.

Rhyolite Ghost Town

In the afternoon, we headed east to visit Rhyolite Ghost Town where, weather permitting, we hoped to photograph the night sky.

An old rail car, barrel, and closeup of textures in Rhyolite.

Rhyolite, named for the silica-rich volcanic rock in the area, was a booming mining town in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Part of the three story bank are still standing.

As the sun went down, and the stars appeared, it was thought-provoking to imagine what it must have been like to have lived there a century ago.

Salt Creek

Early the next morning we drove to Salt Creek. I was hoping to spot the Salt Creek Pupfish, but they were too well hidden for me to spot.

The road to Salt Creek
The flora and fauna in the area.

The Racetrack

To our dismay, we arrived at the racetrack only to discover that someone had taken their SUV out onto the wet earth, leaving tire impressions which may remain for years.

Not wanting to walk out onto the wet racetrack, we kept to the lower portion (which was dry), and were still able to find a few of the magical "moving" rocks.

Stunning clouds over the racetrack.
Returning from the racetrack, we stopped to photograph the night sky. In the photos above, you can see both the Little Dipper (lower left), and the Milky Way (lower right).

Badwater Basin

The next morning the park rangers opened the (previously flooded) road to Badwater Basin. The basin covers more than 200 square miles, is 282 feet below sea level, and is one of the largest protected salt flats in the world.

There was still quite a bit of water near the parking lot.

Walking out onto the flats, the water had already disappeared, leaving a cornucopia of small crystals behind.

Devils Golf Course

Driving north to Devils Golf course, we were able to explore the massive salt pan.

Natural Bridge

Driving back towards Furnace Creek we made a stop at Natural Bridge. Not only were the colors in the canyons splendid, the arch and dry waterfall carved into the rock were impressive.

I like the shadow of what looks to be a best in the lower left photograph.
Driving past Artist's Drive and Palette (which was still closed due to water).

Golden Canyon

We decided to stretch our ledge with a short hike into Golden Canyon where the yellow and red canyons contrasts sharply with the vibrant blue sky.
Details of the cracked earth in the area.

Stovepipe Wells

In Stovepipe Wells, we discovered beautiful patterns in the mud.

The Behives

These kilns were used for making charcoal from the pinyon pine trees and (then used to refine ores), and are some of the best preserved of their kind.

There are a dozen kilns.
The beehives, native plants, and view from the peak.
The drive back from the Beehives.

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes

With flashlights in hand, we hiked in the dark to the middle of the sand dunes in hopes of capturing the first light at sunrise. Distances between the dunes can certainly be deceiving (as can the height and effort it takes to hike through the sand), but it was well worth the effort.

The first rays of lights reach the dunes.
Photographing the shady side created much softer looking dunes.
The stronger contrast made interesting shapes.
I found the patterns in the sand to be fascinating in their variances. And tracks left behind revealed that animals were quite active on the dunes during the night.
I was delighted to find tracks from a sidewinder.

Ubehebe Crater

This crater is 600 feet deep and half a mile across!
Departing the crater, we stopped to photograph more cracked mud and small plants.

Dantes View

For a magnificent vista of the valley, we drove to Dante's View. From the top, I was able to get a better perspective on the size of the salt flats in Badwater Basin and the Devils Golf Course.

Watching the sunset from Dantes View was a peaceful way to unwind at the end of the day.

The next morning we left the park through Panamint Valley. We were surprised to see a family of coyotes crossing the road. Unfortunately, tourists often stop to feed the animals which encourages them to roam along the road — which can be dangerous not only for the animals, but also the vehicles and their passengers.

Created By
Julieanne Kost
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© 2016 Julieanne Kost  All Rights Reserved.

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