|Beth on Zabriskie point.||Badlands on Zabriskie point.|
|Mark and Jason taking notes at Zabriskie Point.|
|It works every time: take them to the highest
point possible and everybody's happy. With no tents to break down we leave
early to catch the first sunlight at Zabriskie Point. We're a bit late
but close. After admiring the brownish hues and badlands formations we
take the drive up to Dante's View to get our first panoramic view of Death
view of Death Valley. We have plenty of time to take in the scenery, talk
about the geology and identify a few more desert plants.
We leave the park for a while to be fooled by an obsidian flow which looks just like a coal seam, and have lunch in searing 100+ degree heat. Jenny plays "name that tourist" and is stumped by some minor European dialect. No, Jenny, its not German, even though they had big cameras.
On our way back north we stop at Wineglass canyon and climb its alluvial fan. Oh man, distances can be deceiving. Embarrassingly, Jeff, the only smoker, is up there first and still has some energy left to explore the canyon. The rest of us is hanging out in the shade.
Having looked down into Badwater from Dante's View this morning we stop by and check out America's lowest spot, dip our fingers into the salty water and walk out onto the playa surface. Afterwards we go desert pupfish fishing (just kidding). The biologists are excited, the rest of us tries to come up with a dinner menu for the two inch long guys.
Dinner in camp turns out to be rather windy. Thanks to Jason's heroic effort, who braves the sand in the back of the van, we have a delicious two course meal served inside our van, with an extra serving of grit liberally applied to everything. Our tents complain about the constant beating, but there is little that excessive amounts of duct tape cannot fix...
|Vickie taking pictures of the valley.||Botanizing at Dante's view.||What better place for a geology lecture!|
|After a view like that - who could not be a fan of the Alluvium?|
|Not every layered outcrop is sedimentary... is it a coal seam or obsidian?|
|Estimating particle size distribution across an alluvial fan.||Heck, it looked much closer from below, but we made it.||It can't get lower than this - in the western hemisphere.|
|Still ways to go, at the base of Wineglass canyon fan.|
|Golf anyone ?||A Death Valley lizard...||...and its mammalian counterpart.|
|Jenny and Mark braving the daily sandstorm||Dinner in the van||Jason cooking dinner in the back of the van.|
|Hah, a little bit of sand won't keep us from dining in style!||Our campsite in the evening...||...and the next morning.|
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