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Zabriskie Point to Badwater

Death Valley Trip 2013 | Day 3
Monday, February 11, 2013

My alarm woke me up a few hours before sunrise on Monday morning. I quickly got my camp loaded back in the Jeep and started the short drive over to the popular Zabriskie Point. As usual, I was the first to arrive with plenty of time to scout the location in the dark. I guess I should mention that it was my birthday. I had purposely planned this trip to coincide with my birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day.

Looking over the badlands from Zabriskie Point shortly before the sun would rise for the day.

Zabriskie Badlands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The prominent Manly Beacon, the Panamint Range and the Earth’s shadow come together for this scene.

Manly Dawn by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

First light on the Panamint Range on the other side of Death Valley.

Zabriskie Point Morning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were even a few clouds if you looked further south. I love the light on the Panamints in this image.

Morning Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at Manly Beacon while the Panamint Range in the distance is lit up by the early morning sunlight.

Manly Beacon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last view of Manly Beacon right after it is struck by direct sunlight.

Zabriskie Point Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I like the play of shadows and light in this view towards the Red Cathedral.

Red Cathedral Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was high enough in the sky I packed up my gear and drove the short distance to Furnace Creek. Since it was my birthday, I decided to stop in at the 49’er Cafe for a good hearty breakfast. Before long, my plate was empty and I was back on the road. This time I was headed back into Nevada so I could drive the Titus Canyon Road back into the park. Since Beatty, Nevada was only a few miles further, I continued into town to top off my gas tank. Gas was much cheaper in Beatty.

Following the well-maintained road through the Grapevine Mountains towards Titus Canyon.

Titus Canyon Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I stopped for a quick photo here because I liked the unusual striations in the layers of rock that make up the canyon wall.

Bent Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After a nice drive through the mountains and canyon, I soon reached Klare Spring where there are a few petroglyphs to be found.

Titus Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’m guessing this represents a bighorn sheep.

Klare Spring Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon I entered the Titus Canyon Narrows. There were a few bends with nice light reflecting off the canyon walls.

Titus Canyon Narrows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another stop to capture the reflected light. Of course, after I rounded the next bend I started running into photographers standing in the middle of the road with their tripods setup…

In the Narrows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After exiting the canyon I drove south through Furnace Creek again and then followed the West Side Road to Trail Canyon. I drove up this 4×4 road a little way and setup my camp for the evening. This is the closest to sea level that I have camped in a long time.

Trail Canyon Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once my camp was setup I drove over to Badwater so I could photograph the interesting salt polygons that make up the floor of the basin.

Badwater Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The last light of the day strikes the top of the mountains while the Badwater basin is in the shadows.

Badwater Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The shape and textures found in the salt are very unique. I spent a lot of time hiking around the area looking for different compositions. I thoroughly enjoyed the blue and magenta colors reflecting off the salt flat during twilight.

Badwater Twilight by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After hiking back to my Jeep I noticed the sliver of a crescent moon over the Panamint Range and thought it might make a nice simple image. I switched over to my long lens for this shot.

Crescent by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Since it was still my birthday I thought it would be nice to drive back to Furnace Creek and grab a burger at the 49’er Cafe. I ended up having to wait about 30 minutes to be seated, but they did have a pretty decent burger. After the meal, I drove back to my camp along the Trail Canyon Road and fell asleep very quickly after a long day exploring Death Valley.

>> Zabriskie Point to Badwater Photo Gallery

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