Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, December 11, 2009

Smiles... mountains, desert

It was a driving day, a walking day, a good day.

I slept much later than I expected given the 3-hour time change. I opened my eyes just before 7 this morning and I feel like I've been in motion ever since. Breakfast first, then a quick grocery store stop to pick up a stash of fruit for the next few days. Time to drive...

Funny, all of the mapping sites that I checked said that it would take about 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley. I didn't remember the drive being that long but I thought perhaps my memory was faulty. It wasn't - the drive took just over 2 hours.

The sky was painted as I left Las Vegas, bright blue peaking out from the clouds. There were large enough gaps in the cloud cover to allow the sun to decorate the land with swaths of light, alternating with the shadows created by the clouds. As I looked to the west I could see mountains glistening with snow. sun streaming beneath the clouds. What an amazing sight! If it wasn't for the fact that I was heading northbound on a highway with cars traveling in excess of the 70 MPH speed limit I would have been tempted to stop and pull out my camera. (You knew that, didn't you?) I know, I know, it's not a good idea to stop on a limited access highway. I was tempted, but I didn't stop.

Ah, time to wander in Death Valley...

After a quick stop at the visitor center, I headed to Badwater, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. I headed out across the salt flats, moving from a smooth wide surface to thinner trails to a downright bumpy surface.

Hey! I think I need to write a little bit too. Yes, this is Rover. Remember, if you see slanty writing, then it's me writing.

I bounced on the salt flats, but I jumped back into Denise's camera pack and rode for a bit too. That salt started to hurt my feet! Oh, and it was really nice to see the salty surface from high up. That let me see the patterns in the salt. There were places where the salt looked like it was broken into hexagons. Fascinating.
Rover on the salt flats

jagged salt

salt flats

A loop around Artist's Drive finished today's wandering. I'd like to go back there again in better light. The colors were amazing, even without the benefit of direct rays of sunlight. I'd like to see it in the sun though.

It's time to dream of tomorrow's wanderings.

looking down the road