Wednesday, May 26, 2010

As low as you can go

  Death Valley formed between two mountain ranges, the Panamints and the Amargosas, as the earth tilted, creating uplifts and the valley. A lake formed in Death Valley at one time, but when it evaporated, minerals including salt and borax remained.
  In this photo, taken at Badwater, you can see the ridges where salt crystals have oozed up from the surface. I'll stop trying to explain geology and just say that Badwater, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in North America. The highest temperature recorded there was 134 degrees in 1913.
  The day I was there is was unseasonably cool. The temperature was 80, at most, and I wore jeans. It was snowing several inches in the Panamints, which slowed me down greatly the next day when I climbed Telescope Peak (11,049 feet).


  1. John, I found the crater like formations in the foreground of your pic particularly intriguing. Any idea what formed these?

    Badwater is the location of that ultra marathon, right? Any sign of that?

    This place must be wicked in July and August, but then contrasted with snow on the way out.

    You camping? Trucking? Moteling? Combination of all?

    On, on man. Keep us informed.


  2. The "crater-like formations" are the edges of the salt crystals I mentioned in the blog. Some of your questions will be answered in future columns and blogs, but I am doing a combination - sleeping in the back of my truck, hitting motels when there's no other good option or I need a shower, and staying with friends. Badwater is the location of the ultra-marathon; I didn't get into that, but my understanding is it starts around there and ends at the top of Whitney. Thanks for your interest.