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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Death Valley

After getting back from Christmas, I went to work for two days for meetings and such. Since Jessica was still on vacation we decided to take the rest of the week off and go to Death Valley.

It was a full day's drive down there. We camped out at the southern most end of the park and made our way north. We stopped to hike around and had great views of the valley. We made the mandatory stop by Badwater, the lowest place in the United States.

We stopped at the Devil's Golf Course and there was a model shoot for some kind of fashion going on. Seemed a little out of place. I will give them, the salt upheaves are amazing to look at and probably make a pretty cool backdrop as well.

From there we went on the Artist Palette drive. If you're in Death Valley, don't skip this, the rocks are all different colors and is quite impressive to look at. Geologists have dreams about rocks like these. I took tons of pictures and trying to narrow it down for the page was a bit rough. Go look at the gallery for more.

From there we went to Gold Canyon as the sun was going down. It made for great sunset shots.

And that was all Day 1. We slept at Stovepipe Wells, which has to be the worst campground I've ever stayed at. It was a huge parking lot for motor homes and then a strip at the edge for tents with almost no vegetation. We fought the wind on the side of the tent for most of the night. It was convently close to Mosaic canyon for out hike the next day.

Mosaic canyon is an odd combination of a layer of limestone covered by a conglomerate. This makes all of the exposed limestone very smooth. It was a fun morning hike, with really entertaining shots.

It was a bit of a slower day. We did a little side hike up Titus canyon, and went back for my forgotten hat and then made camp at Mesquite Campground. It's at about 2000 feet elevation and it's amazing how much of a difference that can make. In the morning we got up and checked out Ubehebe Crater, and on the way out checked out Scotty's Castle. Ubehebe Crater is an awesome name, and it is amazing to look at.

My car is the blue speck on the left side of the picture. This crater was formed when a spring seeped onto a geothermal vent and caused rapid boiling and expansion and blew a hole in the ground. That had to be loud.

The drive home was pretty boring again. But we did have a beautiful sunset. We might not have many trees, but there's not much in the way of the amazing sunsets.

It was a great trip, here's a map of all those places.

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