Death Valley

At the beginning of the year I decided I would post at least 2 blog posts per month. When I set that goal I did not realize that Niantic was going to torture Arizona by giving us a third anomaly in less than a year. So, since I have 9 hangouts, 3 telegrams, a slack, 2 intel screens, and a bunch of spreadsheets open right now, and since the month ends in 23 minutes, here are some photos from Death Valley that take little to no effort on my part.

We took a trip for Les’s birthday. It was hot, we had no showers, but it was fun.

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Sunrise in Red Rocks Conservation Area just west of Las Vegas.
We started out a mile high, now 282 feet below sea level #DeathValley #Physics
We started out a mile high, took this at 282 feet below sea level. Physics!
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Badwater Basin, lowest place in North America, 282 feet below sea level. Les and I came back after dark and had the entire place to ourselves. It was awesome, you could hear the salt crackle as it cooled. And there were no jackass tourists scratching their names in the sand like they tell you not to do. I saw so many people just blatantly violating the rules at this park it nearly ruined the whole trip. It really made me appreciate the NPS, and wish they had a bigger budget so they could better enforce the rules. Also reinforced my hatred of people in general.
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Badwater Basin, lowest place in North America, 282 feet below sea level. Les and I came back after dark and had the entire place to ourselves. It was awesome, you could hear the salt crackle as it cooled. And there were no jackass tourists scratching their names in the sand like they tell you not to do. I saw so many people just blatantly violating the rules at this park it nearly ruined the whole trip. It really made me appreciate the NPS, and wish they had a bigger budget so they could better enforce the rules. Also reinforced my hatred of people in general.
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Close up of salt crystals at Badwater Basin
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Les taking close up photos of the salt crystals at Badwater Basin
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The path along the salt is worn flat and it looks so much like ice it’s almost weird when you don’t slip on it. Also that it’s 90 degrees.
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Death Valley was in superbloom when we went, wildflowers as far as the eye could see. Especially my shitty eyes.
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Natural Bridge. I was patient and caught a rare moment with no people on the trail.
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Artist’s Palette, colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals in the mountains.

 

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We stopped in a field of two different kinds of yellow wildflowers. Some of them smelled really good. but it wasn’t these.
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It was these, a type of primrose.
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View of Badwater Basin from Dante’s View. Elevation 5,476 ft, that’s 5,758 higher than Badwater Basin, where we were about 2 hours before.
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A nice tourist man took a photo of us at Dante’s View.
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Twenty Mule Team Road
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I didn’t take photos of every wildflower, but this one was my favorite. Eremalche rotundifolia, the Desert five-spot
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Killdeer in Salt Creek
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Salt Creek pupfish, a male and a female. They may be having fish sex in this photo. But they’re an endangered species, so it’s ecology, not fish porn.
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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
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Sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
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This tree was glowing in the sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
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Les cooking dinner in the camp ground, and using his favorite present ever, an inflatable glow light from his sister.
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Father Crowley Vista Point, and the best context photo of a survey marker I’ve ever taken (it is in the bottom right).
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Father Crowley Vista Point, I’m not good with heights, but if you crop just right it looks a lot more dangerous that it seemed at the time. Honestly looking at this is more freaky than climbing it was. Freaked my dad out on Facebook too.
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Charcoal Kilns, you know how you never hear of a thing, and then all the sudden that thing is everywhere? Les and I found an old charcoal kiln in Walker, a few miles from Prescott just a week earlier. Then these. From Wikipedia: The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns were completed in 1877 by the Modock Consolidated Mining Company, above Death Valley in the Panamint Range, and were used to reduce pinyon and juniper tree wood to charcoal in a process of slow burning in low oxygen. This fuel was then transported to mines in The Argus Range, 25 miles to the west, to feed smelting and ore extraction operations. Although the mines themselves were worked intermittently until about 1900, there is no clear evidence that the charcoal kilns were operational after 1879. They were restored by Navajo Indian stonemasons from Arizona in 1971.
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Les inside one of the kilns, they smelled vaguely of smoke inside.
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Our last stop in Death Valley National Park was an outlying area called Devil’s Hole, very cool. Again from Wiki: Devils Hole is a geothermal pool within a limestone cavern in the Amargosa Desert in the Amargosa Valley of Nevada, east over the Amargosa Range and Funeral Mountains from Death Valley. Its waters are a near constant salinity and temperature (92 °F or 33 °C).[1] Devils Hole branches into deep caverns at least 300 feet (91 m) deep from an opening at the surface that is approximately 6 by 18 feet (1.8 by 5.5 m). According to geologists, the caves were formed over 500,000 years ago.[2] The pool has frequently experienced activity due to far away earthquakes,[1] which have been likened to extremely small scale tsunamis. Devils Hole is the only natural habitat of the Devils Hole pupfish, which thrives despite the hot, oxygen-poor water. It is an IUCN Red List endangered species. The enclosing cave is occasionally used as a roost for barn owls, which tend to increase diatom growth via guano.
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On our way home we passed through the booming metropolis of Pahrump, Nevada. We couldn’t not stop at the sign into town, ’cause bitches.

 

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