the wandering chick
...Death Valley
Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek areas
Mesquite sand dunes

My second trip into Death Valley was a year later than the first one. This time I entered from the west entrance, California Highway 136 at Panamint Springs and visited the Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek areas.

The two highlights of these sections of the park were Artists Drive, which is an absolute must for anyone visiting the park, and the Mesquite Sand Dunes.

Mesquite sand dunes

The smooth, tawny layers of the Mesquite Flat Sands Dunes most likely come from the grounded quartz and feldspar of the Cottonwood Mountains north of the dunes. The highest of the dunes, called Star Dune, rises nearly a hundred feet.

The dunes are located just a few miles north of Stovepipe Wells.

Mesquite sand dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite sand dunes
Mesquite sand dunes
Mesquite sand dunes
Mesquite sand dunes
mesquite trees
Picturesque trees dot the landscape in Death Valley, complimenting the colorful hills.
roadrunner
Panamint Springs area
I saw lots of roadrunners throughout the park, especially around the Furnace Creek Resort and campgrounds.
Entering Death Valley from the Panamint Springs area on the west side.
gas prices death valley
willow in spring
Gas prices throughout the park were about the same; and more than a dollar per gallon higher than outside the park.
Mosaic Canyon
A hike through Mosaic Canyon puts you in another world, a world of towering marble cliffs and narrow passageways. The next few pictures were taken inside the canyon.
Mosaic Canyon
Mosaic Canyon
Mosaic Canyon
Mosaic Canyon
It's going on Year 4 with the Timberland hiking boots. They look pretty good considering all the miles of dirt and rock they've been over.
Mosaic Canyon
Furnace Creek Resort
Even the foliage in Mosaic Canyon seems to take on the hues of polished marble.
Furnace Creek Resort
Furnace Creek Resort has just about everything you might need in the desert. There's a general store with groceries, souvenirs, hot and cold drinks and some camping supplies. There are two or three restaurants of various prices, a post office, visitors center and lodge registration. There's also a gas station, a mining museum and a golf course.
Furnace Creek Resort
golden hills
golden hills
Just at the junction of Highway 190 and Badwater Road and across the highway from the Furnace Creek Inn lies this small group of hills. If they have a name, I don't know what it is, but when the lowering sun hits them, they turn this golden brown hue that catches the attention of everyone who passes.
Devil's Golf Course
Devil's Golf Course

Upon making my way down the graveled road that leads to the Devil's Golf Course, I thought, "Well, this is nothing more than the crusted mud I've seen in west Texas." But as I took a closer look, it was obvious that I was seeing much more than just mud.

Formed by wind and rain, the jagged edges of the crystallized salt are constantly changing. The fields were developed from ancient salt flats when the water evaporated, leaving only the salt.

Devil's Golf Course
Devil's Golf Course
Golden Canyon
Golden Canyon
Golden Canyon

A relatively short walk, hot but level, is Golden Canyon.

At the end of the canyon is the Red Cathedral, of which I did not get a picture. Maybe because I didn't walk all the way to the end.

Obviously, neither did this couple to the left. They don't exactly seem to be dragging.

Even though the trail WAS a short one, it was in the hottest part of the day, and I had already done a couple other hikes. And, I had no one with me to nudge me along.

Golden Canyon
Golden Canyon
Artists Drive

Driving from the Devil's Golf Course there is a grand view of the hills that make up the Artists Drive. Artists Drive is a 9-mile one-way loop off Badwater Road that takes you past the soft pastel-colored hills of volcanic and sedimentary rock. The grand view is at Artists Palette where all the hues congregate to flaunt their superb beauty.

The next several shots were taken on Artists Drive.

Golden Canyon
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
artists palette
Artists Drive
Artists Palette
Artists Drive
Artists Palette
Artists Drive
Artists Palette is the culmination of all the colors. It's definitely best to take Artists Drive in the late afternoon to get the full effect of the sun on the hills.
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Artists Drive
Leaving Death Valley, heading west
It was sad leaving Death Valley, but here's what I had to look forward to: the beautiful Sierra Nevadas near Lone Pine.
the Sierra Nevadas
Joshua Tree

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