Another Header

March 27, 2011

National Parks: Death Valley, Zabriskie Point

Filed under: National Parks, Southwest United States, The List, Travel, United States — anotherheader @ 10:07 pm

Harmony Borax Works

It’s odd how traveling to a foreign land inspires you to see something you’ve missed closer to home.  But sometimes that is the way it works.  At least that is the way it works for us.

We started thinking about a trip to see Death Valley while visiting Chile’s Atacama Desert. The Atacama’s parched landscapes intrigued us.  It inspired us to look closer at the desert lands nearer to our home in California.

The view from Zabriskie Point

If you are looking to see deserts in the United States, Death Valley is a good place to start.  With an average of about 1.6 inches of rain a year, Death Valley gets about 40 times more rain in a typical year than does the Chilean Atacama.  But, at low altitude, Death Valley is much warmer than the Atacama.  In both places, California’s Death Valley and Chile’s Atacama, the environment is severe.  And in both places the extreme conditions inform the landscapes.

In Death Valley we based in Stovepipe Wells.  After our impromptu night at Panamint Springs on the western edge of the park, it took only a short trip to relocate the Airstream to Stovepipe Wells’ small RV Park.

With a base camp established it was time to explore Death Valley.  Unhitched our first destination was Zabriskie Point.  Zabriskie’s overlook provides a view from the top into a patch of barren, intensely yellow-colored badlands.  The badlands extend down into the valley.  The view is dramatic.  Still it’s a surprise that an obscure movie was, for some reason, named after this spot.

A bench with a view of Zabriskie Point

With the warm light of the setting sun bringing out intense colors in the hillsides, we sped back to Stovepipe Wells.  On the way a stop just off the road took us to Harmony Borax Works and its interpretive trail.  Continuing from the Borax Works a short unpaved road winds through Mustard Canyon.  Mustard Canyon is not so much a canyon as a route through another set of low rounded yellow-green or mustard colored mounds.  At the margins of light the colors are brilliant.

Indeed, Death Valley is at its best in the low light of the morning and evening.  During the peak of the day, the valley can look drab.  Yet, at the edges of the day, the same vistas become spellbinding.  In Death Valley, as it often is in the desert, it’s all about the light.


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53 Comments »

  1. […] excursion through the colorful badlands.  Geographically, this area sits close to but well below Zabriskie Point.  The road loop, Artist Drive, is about 9 miles long.  With an average speed around 15 mph and a […]

    Pingback by National Parks: Death Valley, Artists Drive « Another Header — March 28, 2011 @ 3:18 am

  2. Now it’s time to make your way on over to South Dakota! 🙂

    Comment by The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife — March 28, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  3. The pic of the bench is so lonely…and striking! Great post — I’ve always wondered what Death Valley looked like; thank you for answering that question!

    Comment by Mikalee Byerman — March 28, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  4. Excellent shot of the bench

    Comment by fivestrokeroll — March 28, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  5. Wonderful pictures and EXCELLENT quote: It’s odd how traveling to a foreign land inspires you to see something you’ve missed closer to home. You really have to appreciate and absorb everything in your life!! When I studied abroad, I absolutely missed the food, culture, etc. because it wasn’t at my disposal. When you go to another country, it really helps you to appreciate the beauty of EVERYTHING. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Comment by Lakia Gordon — March 28, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

  6. I’ve been to Death Valley once… and I am not sure I care to go back…though your pics beg me to change my mind. As I recall (and I was only 8) our engine started to overheat so my dad had to turn the heater on…seriously, he turned the heater on. All of us kids looked like sweaty twinkies baking in a hot oven. Gotta love those family vacations! Now…as an adult, I can see a totally different side to Death Valley through your pictures. Love it.

    Comment by The Compulsive Writer — March 28, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

  7. Very nice pictures. Must go there when it is cool! HA! Congrats on being FP!

    Comment by Harold — March 28, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  8. I loved the shot of the bench. That place looks eerie but inspiring. Natural beauty at it’s best!

    Comment by Katie Gou — March 28, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  9. these pics are surreal…especially the one of the old style train.

    Comment by dearexgirlfriend — March 28, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  10. These wonderful photos reminded me of two very enjoyable trips to death valley. Thanks!

    Comment by judefay — March 28, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  11. My wife and I consider Death Valley one of our favorite places in the world. It’s definitely a trip we make every year. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, and jaw dropping. If people have never been there, they need to go! Thanks for the post about it!

    Comment by adamansel — March 28, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  12. i love bench photo , thanks http://aryanmolaei.wordpress.com/

    Comment by AryanMolaeimehr — March 28, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  13. Ahh…beautiful….makes me want to go back, I haven’t been there in over 10 years. Thanks for sharing your great pics!

    Comment by Amy P — March 28, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  14. I was there in 1995.
    Would love to return!

    Comment by Andreas Moser — March 28, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  15. Lovely post, thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Rob — March 28, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  16. fantastic photos!

    Comment by emjayandthem — March 28, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  17. Such a distinct and desolate landscape- but so beautiful in your photos!

    Comment by I Made You A Mixtape — March 28, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  18. lovely pictures and a great post. i ned to go out into nature more. looks beautiful.

    Comment by enjoibeing — March 28, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  19. I love that place. By the way, it wasn’t that obscure of a movie if I have heard of it. I can’t say it was a good movie, but the house blowing up at the end was pretty spiffy.

    Comment by The Gates of Lodore — March 28, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  20. Did you notice short fences along roadways? They are about 1 foot high and run for miles along some of the roads. Any guesses about the purpose of 1 foot tall fence?
    They are an attempt to prevent the endangered Desert Tortoise from venturing across the road where they might become road kill.
    Following (relatively)”wet” winters, wildflowers (especially California Poppy) add even more dramatic colors to the valley floor.

    Comment by r3collins — March 28, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    • We saw them, but don’t know what they are for. We thought maybe they were there to keep people from driving off road.

      Comment by anotherheader — March 28, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  21. Great pictures, inparticular the ones of the train. It looks very other worldly.

    Also I watched the film Zabriskie Point once. I had no idea what was going on, but I also did not care. It also featured Jerry Garcia’s guitar playing and thats always awesome.

    Again, fantastic pictures.

    Comment by skyraftwanderer — March 28, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  22. I have always wanted to go to Death Valley as I love the Desert. I’ve driven all around it on many trips elsewhere but have never ended up there, inspite of my desire. In fact I am going near there this weekend on one our club’s shooting expeditions. I’m sure this is a great time of year to visit that stunning place too. You’re pictures have re-instilled that desire.

    Bodrie
    A Gun Enthusiast Speaks

    Comment by Bodrie — March 28, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

  23. Gorgeous photos. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. It’s really good to see there are still some wild places left.

    Comment by lbeath — March 28, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  24. My fav is the picture of the car with the bikes on the roof, makes it feel like there is no one else in this world, but a family from that SUV. A modern take on an old Ray Bradberry short story…

    Comment by beingzhenya — March 28, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  25. I’m pleased to see your post on Death Valley. I’m currently on a year long adventure visiting State and National Parks. Death Valley is on the list in a few weeks…you may find my USA travels interesting…Beth http://adventuresofacouchsurfer.wordpress.com

    Comment by bbankcopa — March 28, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  26. Stunning pictures! And I advise everyone to check out Zabriskie Point the movie as well as the National Park itself…

    Comment by All County Insurance - Brea, California — March 28, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  27. […] It’s odd how traveling to a foreign land inspires you to see something you’ve missed closer to home.  But sometimes that is the way it works.  At least that is the way it works for us. We started thinking about a trip to see Death Valley while visiting Chile’s Atacama Desert. The Atacama’s parched landscapes intrigued us.  It inspired us to look closer at the … Read More […]

    Pingback by National Parks: Death Valley, Zabriskie Point (via Another Header) « — March 28, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  28. […] National Parks: Death Valley, Zabriskie Point […]

    Pingback by Death Valley… « Motanul Incaltat — March 28, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  29. I read your blog to help me cope with not being able to travel at the moment and it helps:) Because of this and your “sweet” photos I have given you a bloggers award on my blog(the incredible sweet award, I know it’s probably not the award you were looking for, haha). It is http://www.maggiebaggy.wordpress.com

    Comment by The Blankety Blank Blogger — March 28, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  30. Death valley looks really so dead and lonely.

    Comment by lix10 — March 28, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

  31. Hey this looks so cool! After reading your post, even I want to go!!

    Comment by ramya1703 — March 28, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  32. I guess I need to go, I live in Arizona and am close. Sometimes the great things to see are in our own backyard! Congrats on FP 🙂

    Comment by Melina's Hangout — March 28, 2011 @ 11:59 pm

  33. It is maybe one of the best places to go, wonderful scene even I do not love outdoor activity much.

    Comment by wonderyan88 — March 29, 2011 @ 1:24 am

  34. Great photos, and a great post. Death Valley is definitely on my to-do list.

    Comment by Tom Lawrie — March 29, 2011 @ 2:27 am

  35. Death Valley? I’m sure it’s not something from just another Stephen King story. 😕

    Comment by Sajib — March 29, 2011 @ 2:37 am

  36. Death valley looks really so dead and lonely.

    Comment by การ์ดแต่งงาน — March 29, 2011 @ 2:58 am

  37. Superb!!!!

    Comment by richannkur — March 29, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  38. wonderful trip and the picture of the bench is so spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing

    Comment by supersitepk — March 29, 2011 @ 7:41 am

  39. Those are lovely photos. There’s such a magic with desert landscapes. It’s out of this world.

    Comment by leadinglight — March 29, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  40. Üdv Budapestről! 🙂

    Comment by Loyal Munkaruha — March 29, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  41. Thanks. http://calogeromiratraveland.wordpress.com

    Comment by Calogero Mira — March 29, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  42. Awesome Pics 🙂

    Comment by 999 little BIG things — March 29, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  43. […] far from our Airstream trailer’s Death Valley base at Stovepipe Wells is the Mesquite Dunes.  As we drove by the dunes each morning heading out to see the valley’s […]

    Pingback by National Parks: Death Valley, Mesquite Dunes « Another Header — March 29, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

  44. […] It’s odd how traveling to a foreign land inspires you to see something you’ve missed closer to home.  But sometimes that is the way it works.  At least that is the way it works for us. We started thinking about a trip to see Death Valley while visiting Chile’s Atacama Desert. The Atacama’s parched landscapes intrigued us.  It inspired us to look closer at the … Read More […]

    Pingback by National Parks: Death Valley, Zabriskie Point (via Another Header) « tekArtist — March 29, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  45. there’s a film called Zabriskie Point to with Pink floyd’s soundtrack

    Comment by agressivecalzone — March 29, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    • In fact a track composed by Pink Floyd for Zabriskie Point was used on Dark Side of the Moon instead. (This is how I knew that Zabriskie Point was a movie.)

      Comment by anotherheader — March 29, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  46. wonderful pics..!!

    Comment by agressivecalzone — March 29, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  47. I love the Death Valley in low light. Adds up a nice effect and texture on the landscape. Cool!

    Comment by Imaginarium of Pau — April 2, 2011 @ 3:41 am

  48. Hi there
    very nice photos
    it was intersting to read how you thought of Death Valley in Chile; my wife and I visited San Pedro de Atacama 1.5 years ago and when we went to Valle de la Luna and the local “Death Valley” we instantly thought of Zabriskie Point. We return to DEVA at least once a year for our solitude “fix”.
    Happy trails!

    Comment by Darek — April 3, 2011 @ 12:56 am

  49. Ahh…beautiful….makes me want to go back, I haven’t been there in over 10 years. Thanks for sharing your great pics!

    Comment by ดูดไขมัน, Fraxel ,lvaser — April 12, 2011 @ 8:07 am

  50. Hey this looks so cool! After reading your post, even I want to go!!

    Comment by ลดความอ้วน — April 18, 2011 @ 7:31 am

  51. […] Page Arizona becomes Freshly Pressed joining Mt. St. Helens: Plains of Abraham/Ape Canyon and National Parks: Death Valley, Zabriskie Point. Share this:StumbleUponDiggLike this:Like30 bloggers like this post. Comments […]

    Pingback by Page Arizona « Another Header — April 25, 2012 @ 4:42 pm


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