October 05, 2012

Death Valley, California -- part 5 of 10

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Death Valley can be a very hot place, indeed. Fortunately while I was there the temperature only climbed to a fairly bearable 101 degrees. 99 years ago on July 10, 1913, the current world's record was set here at 138 degrees.

But ask me about the "coolest" spot here, and I'm not referring to temperature, I'd have to give the prize to Zabriski Point.

About 9 million years ago the geology in the Zabriski Point area was formed by sediments of saline muds, gravels from nearby mountains, and volcanic ash. Wikipedia tells me that weathering and alteration by thermal waters are responsible for the variety of colors. Furnace Creek, a hot-spring, still flows through this area at a fast clip. Erosion over millions of years have sculpted complex and convoluted drainage patterns in the soft rock.

So, what else does Wikipedia say is "cool" about Zabriski Point?
Zabriskie Point is also the name of a 1970 movie by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni; its soundtrack features music by British band Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia.

The philosopher Michel Foucault called his 1975 acid trip at Zabriskie Point the greatest experience of his life.

This location is featured prominently on the cover of U2's album The Joshua Tree.

This location was used to represent the surface of Mars in the film Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

Zabriskie Point is the name of Radio Massacre International's album released in 2000. This location was used in the film Kill Bill: Volume 2.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The sand dunes of Death Valley... With all that sand, one might expect a beach and ocean. Photographers consider these the holy-grail of artistically sculpted dunes. Click for my photo of the dunes with fresh critter tracks.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

I have been to Death Valley a handful of times but I had never travelled the extra miles down to Badwater at 266 feet below sea level. Reflected in the water here is Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The scenery leading down to Badwater seems like it could have been imported directly from a distant planet. Golfing enthusiasts might find Devil's Golf Course the ultimate challenge. Good luck finding your ball...

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And I'll wrap this up with the sunrise that greeted me as I arrived in Death Valley. I knew it was going to turn out to be a great day, and it did.

CLICK for new slideshow on my "BIG" photo website.


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

You saw Desert Bighorn? Tell me you didn't! In all my years of going to the deserts, not once. Not even a hint of a sighting. Ooo...if you did...good for you!

AphotoAday said...

Hi JOHN (SINBAD'S DAD) Yes indeedie do... Right along the road in Zion National Park. Check the blog tomorrow for more.

photowannabe said...

Gorgeous and very Other Worldly.

under construction