O.K. I warned you I would start a thread on this. We drove, so the trip actually involved some places other than Death Valley. We stopped in Flaggstaff, Arizona over night. We had coffee at a restaurant and it was snowing but you can't tell from the picture. Don't worry, things get better!
My recent trip to Death Valley! With pictures.
Let's at least get started on Death Valley! We camped at Furnace Creek campgrounds in the part just for tent camping. There are actual trees there and it is across the dry creek bed from a fancy oasis resort where golf is played and ice cream is sold. But, this is the creek bed wandering away toward the borax flats around sun set. It was a great camp area but got over-crowded by the week end. Still, mostly very nice people and a man who played old timey accordion music every night for about an hour after dinner! (That got kinda old by the 4th night.)
Back to Death Valley. I believe this is a creosote bush blooming. Not much was blooming because we were still a bit early in the season and I don't think they were having a huge wildflower year. It was great camping weather, a little chilly at night. It was in the low 40's at night and high 70's daytime. Not too windy, either. We were below sea level where we camped! Death Valley is the largest national park in the continental U.S., the lower 48.
Death Valley is All About rocks! This is from Mosaic Canyon. It is amazing and goes back about 2 miles through rocks that I have forgotten the names of what kinds they are. I am no geologist. I will tell you that the ravens have nests in holes in the rocks and they Rule every thing. The ravens also patrol the parking areas and campgrounds. As soon as people leave the ravens come in looking for food.
Did you know there is a rare snail that lives in the springs in the borax flats? They eat the algae that grows on the salt crust. You would think they would be pickled by now but I guess they have adapted pretty well.
Did you make it up to the north end of the park?
Hi, Katlian. There are more pictures coming. We did not see the snails but we did see the pupfish. My pictures of them are not great, however. We did not go to the north or east parts of the park this time, partly because I wanted to avoid any contact with juniper in higher elevations and because we wanted to be doing more walking than driving. My take on it is that in order to really experience Death Valley one must have a high clearance vehicle and get in to the back country. I would say we did manage to see quite a bit, considering. These are the pupfish living in the very salty creek.
My favorite time in Death Valley was when we were visited in camp by a large roadrunner. It knew we were from New Mexico by reading our license plate. On another day, on the dry river bed, I followed a roadrunner and it led me to a place where there were several living. I spent about 2 hours hangin' with the road runners.
What a fun trip. It's hard to get photos of critters underwater. I've tried many times and it always ends up blurry or with big reflections.
You need a high clearance vehicle for the back roads but not a nice new one. I took my Explorer there once and the awful roads actually caused a part inside the steering wheel to break off and clunk around until I took it apart one night. I think next time we will take a rental instead.
Those are great shots of the road runners. I can never get that close to them.
Welcome to Nevada, may we take your money? Snort.
Great photos. It's been ages since I've been to Death Valley and your pics are makeing me start thinking, Road Trip Time.
Lol. That's the same place we camped when we were kids:) We ran all over that place. Would get up early and eat my breakfast under the dates.
Oh wow, fabulous pictures, Roybird. Hope you will take the Unknown Bird over to the Bird ID forum and get him named..... he looks like a cross between a raven and a hawk, that beak looks very raptor-y. You can tell I am an identity expert especially with birds, lol!
The pic of the pupfish was great, I could see them quite clearly.
delightful little tour, thank you.
Hi roybird. Love the water pic and the blue and purple hillside and the raven. I want to go on a road trip too now.
Luvly pics roybird. I still have yet to see a roadrunner although I have galavanted through their territory many a time. I luv the 'Borax and I' pic.
I loved it all. The multicolored rock looked like marble but couldn't have been. The yellow flower looked like one of our native sunflowers here in New Mexico. The unknown bird looked to me like some form of crow -- perhaps a grackle. He sure looked grumpy. I loved the photo of the Roadrunner. I have seen them, but never in time to even get a good look and certainly not to photograph them. And the pupfish were a wonder to me. I didn't even know about them.
In fact, I didn't know there was so much to see in Death Valley. Your photo essay was an education for me!
You are an outstanding photographer. Save the water photo for next year's DG photo contest.
Of course just one of the many reasons that our beluved funny little bird won FIRST in the DG photo contest ^_^ I just luv her pics. It's like a movie of stills. Of course now I'm talking about you roybird in the third person. HOW RUDE! I'm so sorry roybird. I just got carried away with the beautifulness.
Not a grackle, I don't think. They are never as handsome as that.
now watch someone prove me wrong. ;-)
Well, I can tell you I know zilch about birds. I do recognize robins and ravens, though.
As a PS, I have pretty good vision, but I am a disaster with binoculars. I once took a bird watching class in which we would go charging through the brush with the teacher saying -- there it is, see it's white eye-ring? And I couldn't see the bird. I love birds and think they are cute and valuable, but I am not much good at identifying and often even seeing them.
This message was edited Mar 18, 2009 11:22 PM
What frustrates me is when one sings or calls and I know it is *right there* but for the life of me I can't spot it. Drives me to distraction sometimes. Well, almost.....
but we had vast quantities of grackles in NC where I lived before here, not a nice thing to have, very noisy and intrusive they are. so I don't want Roybird's handsome example to be a grackle, they are not on my nice bird list at all. ;-)