Not 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 sights we vowed to explore the sand when we returned in the evening. That way we’d see the dunes at their best; the low light of the setting sun brings out the splendor of many things in the desert. But every day it was dark when we returned back to base. Death Valley is the largest National Park in the lower 48 states. It takes time to explore the park’s far reaches. Finally, on our last day, we determined that the dunes would be our only destination. That way we couldn’t miss them.
The Mesquite Dunes are the largest dunes within Death Valley National Park. They are a popular visitor destination. At the end of the day, tourists migrate to the area and trek out onto the sand. We joined the crowd moving from the parking lot towards the sand in the fading sun.
For sure the smooth dunes of sand in the midst of the stark dry desert valley are worth seeing. In the low light, the distinctive rhythmic ripples of sand are emphasized. Depending on the location, the patterns and colors vary. In each location the wind paints different patterns in the sand. Each set of ripples has its own perfection. There is no disorder in a set of sand wrinkles.
We left certain that our tracks, like those of all visitors, would be buried over by the next sand storm. Dunes are dynamic. Visits are transitory. And so it was with our stay in beautiful Death Valley. Tomorrow we would leave and head deeper into the Desert Southwest.