IgorStar
 

The Bloom of Desert

So happened that I have not filled up my blog with new reports for a long time being in constant struggle with laziness :) But I simply can’t miss the review of this trip while my impressions are still fresh.

Every year spring brings life even to the desert of California and in March, right after winter rains, in Death Valley you can see a mass flowering of different kinds of cacti and thorns. Together with my friends, we went to this not so hospitable place in search of this phenomenon. Previously having charged the batteries and filled a full tank.

After seeing the first blooming valley, we decided that further there were going to be more beautiful locations and we continued our trip without hesitation. The next place to visit on our way was Cinder Mountain. This is a volcano of red rocks standing apart from mountains among desert cracks. An incredible place that creates a feeling of being on another planet. I'm pretty sure, many Hollywood movies about other planets were filmed near this place.

We raced farther eastward on Highway 190. Our goal was to get to Badwater basin before sunset. Surrounding landscape was changing very fast: mountains and canyons were replacing valleys and deserts. Every next twist on a mountain streamer was intrigueing. One such affair made us stop and run six hundred feet to a canyon with a magnificent view over tens of miles of desert. We stayed there for about fifteen minutes and were taking pictures and hanging by the cliff edge trying to come closer to take a better shot. If we stayed there for few more minutes we would get the best seats for the show that was about to happen. When we got back to the car and prepared to continue the trip we heard a loud rumble. It was a jet fighter that was in a maneuver, diving right into the canyon near which we had been photographing a couple of minutes before.

Although we were in a hurry to reach the destination before sunset we could not miss the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, moreover they were right on the way and we did not have to change our route significantly, unlike most of other points of interest of Death Valley. Also there is always a large number of tourists and photographers so it was rather difficult to make a photo without any casual passers in the frame. It is worth noting that in March the temperature in the Valley rarely exceeds 82 degrees, which, combined with soft sand and a light breeze makes the walk on the dunes very pleasant.

There was less and less time remaining till the sunset. After passing through almost the entire Death Valley we were approaching our goal - the Badwater Basin. This is a unique place in the lowest point of North America, with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level. Water in Badwater is presented in very small quantity and is undrinkable due to excessive salt content, which makes the pool more similar to the salt desert rather than a water basin. The sun was rapidly approaching the tops of the mountains, so as soon as we arrived to the place we immediately went deep into the basin and I managed to memorialize the last rays of the sun over the valley in a 10-second timelapse.

Most of the tourists who were at that moment in Badwater already headed back to their cars so I could enjoy an absolute silence for about half an hour, which was only occasionally interrupted from time to time by the sound of shutter release of my camera. I was one on one with nature. It is so an unusual feeling for a resident of Los Angeles.

After last shots were made I could finally breathe a sigh of relief: our trip to Death Valley seemed to be successful. But I wish to come back one day for a more thorough expedition. That was not the end of our adventure because we were more than three hundred miles away from our homes so we had to find a lodging for the night in the city of sins — Las Vegas. But, as they say, what happens in Vegas - stays in Vegas ...