Badwater basin

This was our last stop while in the Death Valley park and the sun was quickly sinking behind the Panamint Range to the West.  We pulled over to the side of the road and I ventured out about 1/2 mile onto the basin, well away from the visitor parking area. Even though there were only a few people out on the basin, I wanted to go to an area that was more likely to be untouched. What I didn’t know is that the salt was so hard that we didn’t even leave footprints ourselves. Regardless, I still enjoyed having to just the few of us. I Couldn’t believe the landscape I was seeing. I had seen images of the area before but none of them did this place justice. There was an area that looked like volcanic rock on the edges, followed by something that looked like boiling water frozen in time. Then as we went out a little farther, we found the hexagonal shapes I had seen in photos before. Some of these areas are large enough for a few people to stand next to each other in, and some of them are a little smaller. There were it appeared something from below was forcing the cracks taller and cracking open. According to the visitor center, a surveyor from the 1800’s was passing through the area and attempted to get his mule to drink from one of the small pools of water. The mule wouldn’t drink the water so he noted in his journal that it had “bad water” which apparently stuck. I spent about an hour exploring the area before we left. Had I been on my own, I would have stayed several hours and let the full moon light the landscape and captured some star trail images as well. Something to plan for the next time I visit…
Badwater Basin Panoramic - Death Valley NP, CA © Rob Loughrey

 

Hexagonal salt crust, Death Valley NP, CA © Rob Loughrey