Posted by: danielfee | May 7, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above – Death Valley 05-07-2013

For this weeks photo challenge “from above”,  I have so many great photos, I decided to make it a running theme for the entire week. Here is the fourth entry, Death Valley National Park “from above”.

Augerberry Point

Aguereberry Point

Behind me is a view of Death Valley from Aguereberry Point at elevation 6433 feet. The floor of the valley is -282 below sea level. The last few hundred feet to get to the top of Aguereberry Point gets a little scary. The dirt road narrows down to one lane with no guardrail as you wind your way to the peak. You just hope no one is coming from the other direction because one of you is going to have to back up. When you get to the top, the view is worth the effort.

Sand Dunes

Mesquite Sand Dunes

The Mesquite Sand Dunes are located near the center of the Death Valley National Park, in the Furnace Creek Area. Death Valley is a very large and diverse park. It takes a minimum of four full days to explore most of the main attractions in the park. You need to plan your itinerary in advance and go one direction each day. We found that going near the end of December was a perfect time. The weather was cool (OK – cold in the mornings) and the crowds were small.

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is located at the north tip of the Cottonwood Mountains in the northeast section of Death Valley National Park. The crater is half a mile wide and up to 777 feet deep. The age of the crater is estimated to be 2,000 to 7,000 years old. The crater was formed when magma migrated close to the surface and the heat of the magma flashed groundwater into steam, throwing large quantities of pulverized old rock and new magma across the stony alluvial fan draped across the valley floor. Miocene-aged mostly reddish orange-colored conglomerate makes up the exposed bedrock in Ubehebe’s walls. There is also a difference in color between the seabed sediments – on the left the sediments are yellowish in hue while on the right they are orange. The reason is due to a fault that separates the two different sedimentary units. Over time, at least 400 feet of vertical displacement along this fault has resulted in the abutment of these two different sedimentary units.

Crowley Point

Father Crowley’s Point

Located on the west side of Death Valley, in the Panamint Range, is Father Crowley’s Point. The lookout was named after the Catholic Priest who ministered in the area in the 1930’s, and who was said to make frequent stops at the overlook. A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders abruptly gives way to the gash of Rainbow Canyon below the viewpoint. You can walk to the end of the dirt track east of the parking lot for a grand overlook of northern Panamint Valley.

Dante's Peak

Me at Dante’s Peak

From Dante’s peak, at an elevation of 5,475 feet, the view of Death Valley National Park is breathtaking, and it is not just the altitude. Death Valley park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It is also the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States and is often the location with the highest daily temperatures in the country. The park contains the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere with the Badwater Basin being 282 feet below sea level. Sitting atop the rocks at Dante’s Peak you will experience the vastness of the basin and valley.

View from Dante's Peak

View of Death Valley from Dante’s Peak

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