Like everyone, I've fantasized for years about spending Christmas in Death Valley. This year, the dream finally came true. I spent a day and a half with several other units of the Zawodny clan wandering the vast expanse of desert and superficial lifelessness.

Badwater Salt Flats
Above: Badwater Salt Flats (the picture everyone takes)

Badwater is a basin in California's Death Valley, noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 feet (86 m) below sea level.
The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of water next to the road; however, the accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus the name "Badwater". The pool does have animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects, and the Badwater Snail.
The pool is not actually the lowest point of the basin, which is several miles to the west and varies in position. However, the salt flats are hazardous to traverse (in many cases being only a thin white crust over mud), and so the sign is at the pool.
Source: Badwater on Wikipedia

Devil's Golf Course
Above: Devil's Golf Course

Often difficult to access through the paved road which closes after the rains, the Devil's Golf Course is a huge area of land comprising of rock salt. Located in Death Valley, California, this amazingly jagged, serrated and spired region would inspire no one but the Devil to play on its rough terrain. Erosions due to wind and rain have largely been the cause for the rather intimidating topography of Death Valley.
Source: Devil's Golf Course on Wikipedia

Above: Ghosts (from the nearby Ghost Town of Rhyolite)

Rhyolite is located 4 miles west of the town of Beatty, Nevada on HWY 374. The East entrance to Death Valley, Rhyolite offers photographers, explorers and ghost town enthusiasts an enjoyable experience. For those of you who cannot visit the town we have a tour on line. For those of you that will be visiting the town, I suggest you download and print the tour before you go. There is no information available at the ghost town. If you have been to Rhyolite, or plan on coming take the tour anyway and enjoy. Don't forget to go to the sitemap. There are some places you can not get to from here. After all, it is a ghost town.

I would have liked clearer skies for my pictures, but that just means I'll have to come back sometime. :-)

More pictures to come. I've taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures so far on this little vacation.

Posted by jzawodn at December 27, 2006 09:55 AM

Reader Comments
# optional said:

You are so lucky. I wish I could play tourist in California but it seems ever since I moved here in 1993 all I have managed to do is work, work, work...

on December 28, 2006 10:58 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

If it's any colsolation, I had so much vacation time accumulated at work that I'd stop accumulating if I didn't take it. I spent a few too many years not going away often enough.

on December 28, 2006 11:19 AM
# Divya Uttam said:

I would love to see those pictures. This is an awesome place, and those ghosts are look like they wood just start swaying. This place a mix of curiosity and beauty.

on December 28, 2006 11:30 AM
# ituloy angsulong said:

Hearing Death Valley the first time when I was young made me think of a place where Devils and Dragons live. But looking past the vastness of emtiness, you'll appreciate the opposite... a beauty and spendour of nature.

on December 31, 2006 07:04 AM
# Doug Cutting said:

Small world. We were in Death Valley for two nights, starting the 28th. Only missed you by a few days.

on January 3, 2007 02:00 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Ah, that means you had the nicer weather then. More sunlight and less clouds. I had hoped to get some better photos, but the lighting wasn't that good.

on January 3, 2007 02:06 PM
# clinton said:

We'll I'm an avid hiker and I've always wanted to climb Whitney and go to bad water within a 24 hour period. That way i get to be at the highest point in the greater 48 states and the lowest point in the U.S. in one day :-)

on January 11, 2007 10:23 AM
# Ersin said:

Yeah it is a small world. I was there around the same time. I also have very similar shot of the salt flats.

on January 21, 2007 08:25 AM
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