(A continuation from yesterday’s post…Death Valley, California, Monday, March 22, 2010)
Badwater Basin and the Salt Flats were incredibly beautiful.
With Telescope Peak rising to its full 11,000 feet on the west and Dante’s Pass behind us, we tip-toed around honeycombed basins of salt water. The rims of delicate crystal and mineral deposits, encircling each pool like lace-work and hand-hewn tatting, stretched for miles around us. The whole white scene was blinding to the eye and compelling to the soul. We simply HAD to look.
The girls picked carefully at the salt deposits. Mindful of the strength of their human hands on this hardy yet tender ecosystem, they touched with tenderness and marveled at the wet glistening gems on their palms and the sensation of soft chalk that it left on their skin. None of us could resist putting out tongues against our fingertips, as though our palates were the final authority of whether or not this was, in fact, a salt basin.
Heading back toward Furnace Creek, we detoured along the Artists Palate Drive to see an amazing crayola box of natural hues stacked upon each other throughout the surrounding cliffs and hills.
This particular spot is a six-mile stretch of tribute of the planet’s age and ever-changing form – the layers of color showed us where glaciers, volcanoes, water, ice and heat have all conspired over time to geologically blend and separate varying colors and textures. It was powerful to acknowledge that whole mountains have uplifted and laid themselves upon one another, like great stone sweaters on a shelf. Moving mountains…now there’s a concept.
Rich dark browns, tans, reds, black, beautiful swaths of palest blue, washed-out green and even an occasional stripe of lavender showed up for us as we roller coaster-ed through the looping narrow road of the scenic drive.
The squeak had retired, both literally and metaphorically, as we made our way along in the Beckinator with mid day desert heat rising around us.
Virginia’s biggest concern was the number of images her wee Nikon would hold.
Sarah was momentarily beyond concerns, as she was on an internal hike deep into a John Muir-ian state of being.
I was just hanging out in a willingly suspended state of awe – for the day, the planet and the miracle known as “right now.”