I visited Death Valley National Park in mid-March and the temperatures exceeded 90 degrees! At 282 feet below sea level, it has the lowest elevation in North America and is the hottest and driest US National Park.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to visit this place in summer when the temperatures reach 120 degrees! No wonder it’s called Death Valley.
At first it seemed like there was nothing here but dirt, salt, sand and lots of heat. But as I started exploring the different sections of the park I realized how diverse it really is. I can’t think of another place that has dry lake beds, sand dunes, and colourful rock formations all in close proximity.
There is a flat salt bed that covers a large section of the park, created when the lake that was once here evaporated and left behind mineral deposits that eventually became a coating of lumpy salt. Occasional rainfall smoothes out the salt into a flat bed.
But the section known as Devils Golf Course rarely receives any rainfall and so the salt crystals continue to grow and form pinnacles that are now about 3 feet deep.
You can even hear it happening. While I was making these images I could hear the popping and cracking of salt crystals bursting apart as they expand and contract.
It was named Devils Golf Course after a 1930’s guidebook that said only the Devil could play golf on its surface. Since it’s named “Devils” and not “Devil’s” I guess they are expecting more than one player!
I made these images by using a wide-angle lens and positioning my camera close to the ground to highlight the impossibly difficult terrain. It can be incredibly bright here during the afternoon, so I waited until the sun was setting behind the nearby mountains so there was softer light.