Tall Tales From The Field

Posts tagged “California

Leftovers From Death Valley

Leftovers can be good. Like pizza or Chinese food, leftovers may be better than the originals.

 

Visitors explore the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National park, California

Visitors explore the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California. I don’t walk on these dunes because of the extreme foot traffic it receives. Doesn’t make for good photos except from a distance.

The Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes at Death Valley National park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley National Park, California

The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley rents for a cool $499 per night. They also charge a $13.44 per day resort fee. Really?

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Cottonball Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Brightly colored rock formations make up the landscape at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Palm trees survive in the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park, California

 

Rugged mountains line Badwater Basin At Death Valley National Park, Calfirornia

 

The bright colors of Mustard Hills at death Valley National Park, California

The bright colors of Mustard Hills at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Vegetation grows on the sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Funky clouds pass over California's Death Valley National Park.

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Death Valley’s Panamint Valley

Another large valley at Death Valley National Park is Panamint Valley. It is 65 miles long and up to 10 miles wide and stretches from Panamint Dunes, located inside the park, to the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center. It is also home to the Barker Ranch, infamous as the temporary home of the Charles Manson gang in the late 1960s.

 

The wide expanse and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Wide expanses and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley. That’s snow-covered Telescope Peak, at 11,043 feet, the highest point in Death Valley NP.

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

The main road meanders through the valley and has some incredible elevation changes.

 

Panamint Dunes were formed when high winds forced sand into the north end of Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Panamint Dunes was formed when high winds forced sand into the north end of Panamint Valley.

 

Brightly colored Zinc Hill in the Argus Range at Death Valley Natioal Park, California

Brightly colored Zinc Hill in the Argus Range.

 

The wide expanse and elevation changes are the predominant features at Panamint Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Wide Valleys and tall mountain peaks are the predominate features at Death Valley National Park, California

 

 


Eureka Dunes In Detail

The finer details of  Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Tracks from a mammal appear in the sand dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

 


Eureka Dunes In The Abstract

The  lines and shapes of the sand dunes at Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park make for some good abstract images.  The contrast between shadows and highlights also accentuate the abstractness.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California


The Remote Eureka Valley

Eureka Valley is located within Death Valley National Park and was added to the park when Death Valley became a national park in 1994. Death Valley NP is now the largest national park in the lower 48 states at over 3.3 million acres, 50% more than Yellowstone. Ninety One per cent of the park is designated wilderness and Eureka Valley is definitely wilderness. It is approximately 28 miles long and up to 10 miles wide. Eureka Valley could be its own national park. The valley is known for its soaring sand dunes, the colorful Last Chance Range and views to the snow-capped White Mountains that reach some 14,000 feet into the air.

 

Clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Texas Spring, Marble Canyon, Cottonwood Canyon, Stovepipe Wells Village, Stovepipe Wells Dunes, Devil's Cornfield, Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Crankshaft Junction, Eureka Dunes. We camped at Eureka Dunes. 164 miles, 10 hours 24 minutes

Eureka Valley, upper left on map, is a 2 hour drive from the center of Death Valley NP, mostly on dirt and gravel roads.

 

Fog envelops the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

Colorful strata are the predominate feature of the aptly named Last Chance Range.

 

The brightly colored sedimentary layers of the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The snow-covered White Mountains as seen from Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

The snow-covered White Mountains as seen from Eureka Valley.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Lazy clouds pass over Eureka Valley.

 

A nearly full moon rises through the clouds over Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

A full moon lights up the landscape over Eureka Dunes.

 

High winds kick up dust at Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

High winds kick up sand at Eureka Valley and eventually settles at the south end where the dunes reside.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

The dunes rise up to 700 feet, amongst the tallest in North America.

 

The road to Eureka Dunes ar Death Valley National Park, California

The dunes look rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley during sunset at Death Valley National Park, California

Sunset over the valley.

 

The shapes and lines at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

It’s amazing that anything grows or survives here.

 

Mammals burrow into the sand at Eureka Dunes at Death Valley National Park, California

Small mammals survive here by burrowing into the sand for relief. These nests are home to the kangaroo rat.

 

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley at Death Valley National Park, California

Rain makes an occasional appearance at Death Valley, but only a few inches annually.

Threatening clouds pass over Eureka Valley during sunset at Death Valley National Park, California

 


Wintry Owens Valley

In the middle of my visit to Death Valley last week, I made a side trip through California’s Owens Valley.  The snow level was much lower than in previous years as California has been hit with numerous storms this winter. Unfortunately, low clouds obscured the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

 

The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are the predominate feature at Owens Valley, California

 

The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are the predominate feature at Owens Valley, California

 

The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are the predominate feature at Owens Valley, California

 

The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are the predominate feature at Owens Valley, California

 

The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are the predominate feature at Owens Valley, California


Death Valley Moonrise

A full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California.

 

A nearly full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

A nearly full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

A nearly full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

A nearly full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

 

A nearly full moon rises over the Last Chance Mountains at Death Valley National Park, California

Nothing better than camping under a full moon at a remote desert location. The moon was so bright, I didn’t need any artificial light.

 

 


Death Valley’s Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, is a landscape of extremes.  Extreme temperatures, extreme elevation changes and extreme dryness.  Because the basin is at an elevation of 282 feet below sea level,  the average high temperature in July is 116 degrees F.  The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees at Death Valley in 1913.  Little wonder that I and most others visit during the winter months.

Badwater is surrounded by soaring peaks and eroded sandstone formations.  Snow-covered Telescope Peak,  standing at 11,049 feet, is quite a contrast to the salt flats at Badwater Basin. The salt flats are approximately 200 square miles in area and are formed when rain flushes minerals from the nearby hills and mountains to the flats of Badwater. The high heat and dryness ( DV only receives 2 inches of moisture annually) evaporates everything except the salt.

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The salt flats at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

A lone coyote at Death Valley's Badwater Basin

You wonder how this lone coyote survives in this environment.

 

The salt flats at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

The salt flats of Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Death Valley National Park, California

 

 


It Never Rains In Death Valley

Well, almost, it did a little this past Friday. Death Valley only receives 2 inches per year, mostly in the winter. In a lot of locations in this world, you can receive 2 inches of rain in less than an hour.  The storm clouds gave Death Valley National Park a look I normally don’t see. The clouds and filtered sunlight produced some memorable images.

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Unusual rainstorms pass through Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 

Passing storm clouds filter sunlight on the landscape at Badwater Basin at Death Valley National Park, California

 


Death Valley Fighter Jet Captured!

You may remember last year I got the rush of my life when a fighter jet at Death Valley National Park buzzed right over me. The Ultimate Rush?

I went back to the same spot the other day and this time, I had my camera ready. Now I did not have a fighter jet fly right over me but this one was fairly close. The sounds of its engine penetrated my psyche but I did get some decent photos. I planned to video a jet flying over me but it never happened again while I was there for 2 days.  More photos of my Death Valley trip to follow soon.

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You don’t really hear the jets until they get close but I spotted this one coming in fast so I had time to grab my camera.

 

A fighter jet from nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center flies over Death Valley National Park, California

The  fighter jet is stationed at  nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center.

 

A fighter jet from nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center flies over Death Valley National Park, California

You may not be able to tell, but I enlarged this image in Photoshop and the pilot was looking right at me. There is a second pilot in the back. I believe this is a F-16. I wasn’t using my zoom lens so he was pretty close.

 

A fighter jet from nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center flies over Death Valley National Park, California

You want to be in continuous shooting mode to maximize the number of exposures you will get.  These jets move by really fast!

 

A fighter jet from nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center flies over Death Valley National Park, California

As he passed me, the jet headed towards this mountain range, turning to the right and around Eureka Dunes.  It’s a pretty tight maneuver.  The sound from the thrusts of its engine reverberated off the  the side of the mountain.

 

A fighter jet from nearby China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center flies over Death Valley National Park, California

This all happened in less than 10 seconds.