Remember how I almost got myself killed in Death Valley ? Back then, I told myself not to let Death Valley surprise me again.
And that’s when it happened.
Suddenly he stood right in front of the car.
I slammed the brakes.
The car came to a stop right in front of him.
Mouth wide opened, perplexed.
The coyote looked straight into my eyes and showed his teeth.
I kept still, in awe.
That’s how quickly the moment was gone.
The coyote moved along to the side of our car.
I grabbed my camera while my girlfriend started shouting to start the car.
I got a final shot of him.
It’s a little shaky and not one of my best photos, but it sure is one of my most memorable travel moments.
The coyote convinced me at that very moment that Death Valley had a lot of surprises left in store for me.
The place simply has more to offer than blistering heat, dust and lots of sand.
Singing sand for example! The Eureka Sand Dunes are a rare phenomenon because they make a strange singing or humming noise when you slide your but down along their slopes.
I wanted to give it a try but they are located in the – hard to reach – North of the Park where another strange phenomenon can be found: Racetrack Playa. Heavy stones move themselves along the dessert surface leaving long traces behind as if they were in a drag race.
We all know however that the best races are held on salt flats.
Speaking of which, Death Valley also has !
Badwater Basin is a salt flat located at 86m below sea level and is also the lowest point in Northern America.
A few miles further down the road is Devils Golfcourse. The rough salt textures and formations here were given this name because only the Devil could play golf on such a terrain. You’ll need to take a dirt road to drive up to this place so make sure you get a four wheel drive. Cheap-o me I off course didn’t.
I thus decided to drive the 17 mile long loop drive: Artists Drive.
Oxidation caused rock formations here to turn into a colored landscape of red, yellow, green and purple. The highlight being Artist Palette where all colors came together as if they had been squished and mixed together by a painter.
The peculiar rock formations of Zabriskie Point on the other hand looked like they had been sculpted for George Lucas.
I found out later on that George Lucas had actually filmed parts of Star Wars at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
I tell you, Death Valley is full of surprises.
Do It Yourself
Sleep: Stovepipe Wells
More Info: Furnace Creek Visitor Centre : 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (June 1 to October 4, 2014), 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Winter hours)
Blue icons below illustrate off road sights that need a 4-wheel drive to reach.