Death Valley Photos: Owlshead Mountains

Owlshead Mountains, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Owlshead Mountains, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Owlshead Mountains, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Owlshead Mountains, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

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Death Valley Photos: Chloride City and Monarch Canyon

Chloride City, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Chloride City, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Desert Bighorn Sheep, Chloride Cliff, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Desert Bighorn Sheep, Chloride Cliff, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Death Valley Photos: Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Titus Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Death Valley Photos: Coyote, Hole in The Wall

The blog has been dormant the last 2 weeks during my exploration of the Deep South, including Cajun Country.  I’ll wrap up the remaining Death Valley and Texas stories this week and then detail my newest adventures.

This coyote was standing in the middle of Badwater Road, a two-lane, 55 mph highway.  I called him over to the shoulder and he came immediately.  He minded better than my dog at home.   See canyon photos below.

Coyote on Badwater Road, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Coyote on Badwater Road, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Coyote on Badwater Road, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Coyote on Badwater Road, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Hole in the Wall, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Campsite,  Hole in the Wall Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Campsite, Hole in the Wall Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Death Valley Photos: Echo and Mosaic Canyons, Artists Drive, Ubehebe Crater

Eye of the Needle, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Eye of the Needle, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Eye of the Needle, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Eye of the Needle, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Inyo Mine, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Inyo Mine, Echo Canyon, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Artists Drive, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Artists Drive, Death Valley: Double-click image to enlarge.

Mosaic Canyon, with new friends.

Mosaic Canyon, with new friends.

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley: Double-click on image to enlarge.

Death Valley Photos: Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Zabriskie Point: Double-click on photo to enlarge

Death Valley: The Racetrack and Ubehebe Crater

The Racetrack, Death Valley, taken from The Grandstand.  Double-click photo to enlarge.

The Racetrack, Death Valley, taken from The Grandstand. Double-click photo to enlarge.

The Racetrack is the world-famous playa upon which rocks move mysteriously.  Scientists believe that strong winds blow the rocks across the playa under icy, muddy, slippery soil conditions.  A playa is the most naturally flat geological surface on the planet.  The National Park Service asks visitors not to walk on the playa when it is wet, because the resulting footprints last for years.  Driving on the playa is prohibited at all times.  I saw a few footprints and tire tracks on the playa.

The Park Service warns visitors about the risk of flat tires on Racetrack Road at every possible opportunity.  The visitor centers feature dioramas showing how small rocks protrude from the washboard road surface.  The highly competent ranger I spoke with, Mr. Langford, advised me to limit my speed to 15-20 mph and my tires would be fine.  He was right.  I did, however, cross paths with a

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen.  Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen. Double-click on photo to enlarge.

group in another SUV who sustained 2 flat tires.  “People try to drive 40 mph, and the rocks tear through tires at that speed,” Langford explained.

A few miles north of The Racetrack, I momentarily heard a deafening roar directly above my vehicle.  An F-16 at seemingly eye level streaked past heading east, perpendicular to my direction of travel, a 30-foot afterburner flame shooting from its engine.  It was turning hard right to avoid hitting the mountain directly in front of it.  Having rapidly turned itself south, it shot just over the top of another mountain and dived into a valley out of sight.  This entire set of maneuvers took less than 10 seconds.  Ranger Langford had explained, with his typical enthusiasm, that fighter pilots often practice bombed drivers on Racetrack Road.  I’m glad I got to experience it!

Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen.  Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen. Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen.  Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen. Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen.  Double-click on photo to enlarge.

Racetrack Playa, moving rock specimen. Double-click on photo to enlarge.