Sunday, September 28, 2014

Death Valley, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - 9/27/14

After seeing the Harmony Borax Company ruins, we continued north on 190 toward Stovepipe Wells Village. Prior to reaching the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, we saw a sign for Devils Cornfield.

Devils Cornfield: A salt-tolerant, desert shrub called Arrowweed (pluchea sericea) grows here. Windblown soil gathers around the base of the shrub. As the shrub grows higher and higher, more soil accumulates. This results in the following appearance.

Arrowweed grows in abundance here and can be seen for miles.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: Continuing on 190, we came upon the the sand dunes a couple of miles before Stovepipe Wells Village. What a sight!

While sand is everywhere in the desert, sand dunes are created by the presence of three things: a large supply of sand, strong winds, and something to slow down the wind (the Tucki Mountain in this location). The sand is trapped here and while the sand dunes are frequently rearranged by storms, they remain.

Moisture just below the surface supports clumps of creosote bushes and mesquite trees. With surface temperatures of 200 degrees, nocturnal desert animals (kit fox and kangaroo rats) build dens that the the root systems protect from cave ins.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives...

Walking on these sand dunes was like being at the beach. Incredible!

Admission to Death Valley National Park is $20/vehicle for a 7-day pass. John's senior pass gets us in for free.


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