Posts Tagged ‘dunes’

Hiking the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley National Park

January 10, 2012

Photographer in the remote Panamint Dunes in Death Valley

The Panamint Dunes are the most remote set of large dunes in the park. They are also the least visited set of dunes in the park. It’s about a 4 mile one way hike and most of the hike is relatively moderate until you reach the sand and uphill on sand begins. You’ll begin to move a little slower this way. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for the dirt road to access the dunes north of highway 190 in the Panamint Valley. The turn off is easy to miss but it’s a few miles east of Panamint Springs and you can easily find it on a park map. At the end of the road there is a small parking area. From here you walk across the alluvial fan towards the dunes, there is somewhat of a foot path but no trail so keep in mind the angle of where you parked the car. A compass should help you find your car if it gets dark and you can’t make out the mountains near telescope peak.

What I liked about this hike, for the most part you walk through mostly creosote the whole way you’ll end up smelling like the Mojave Desert when you get back. On the dunes instead of human footprints you’re more likely to find lots of animal patterns and birds landing on the dunes to eat a bug or two, maybe even a few birds of prey. I’ve seen a golden or two in my travels here. You’ll also encounter a few fly byes of F-18’s from China Lake if you’re lucky. More so during the week, they’ve had control of the airspace before Death Valley was a National Park or Monument so we have to share the skies with them. Best of all you can enjoy one of the off the beaten path places in park with another view of Telescope Peak off in the distance. Snow on the peak give the scene a beautiful contrast to vastly open desert below.

Telescope Peak from the Panamint Dunes in Death Valley

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Lassen Volcanic Park and Marmot in the Engine

December 26, 2010

Rolling cinder hills in Lassen Volcanic National Park

I recently had the chance to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park this past June. Most of the park was covered in snow so I headed off the beaten path to the outskirts of the park hoping to find something a little less photographed. Here is a view from the top of a cinder cone of rolling painted hills, it was well worth the walk up to the top.

Shadow from the lip of a cinder cone in Lassen Volcanic Park

In the image above I was watching the shadow from the lip of the cone slowly move across the scene just before it revealed the trees completely. It wasn’t very slow since I remember having to react quickly while I was thinking why can’t the trees be exactly where I want them to be? The shutter fired away since some moments pass and the oppertunity is lost until a next attempt.

Who checks under the hood everytime before they get in there car? I don’t but I had a slow leak at the time so I was pretty surprised to find this basketball sized living rodent just sitting cozy and comfortably as it was in the beginning of the video. After 2 trekking poles and a ranger with 2 brooms sticks we got the marmot to run for the woods. Out of pure curiosity, I have always wondered what a marmot tastes like so lucky for him or her there wasn’t a roasting.

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Dunes of the Mojave Desert

August 2, 2010

Mojave Desert Dunes

If someone were to mention dunes in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley’s Mesquite Dunes at Stovepipe Wells would come mind first for some people. The Kelso Dunes might even come up. There are more dunes out there that in lie outside of the National Park and Monument boundaries, you just need to look a little further. With all the dry lakes out there the sand has to blow somewhere.

Dunes in black and white

Some dunes fields are extremely small and others such as what is shown here are significant in size. Many dunes are similiar and usually can be identified with the mountain back drop if there is one.

OHV use in designated wilderness

These dunes are designated wilderness where people may seek desert desolation but I have come across people ignoring the desigated wilderness boundaries with OHV use. I can imagine how dificult it can be trying to protect something out in the middle of nowhere. It would be nice if there were signs posted with violation fee amounts in all parking areas near wilderness areas.

Mojave desert dunes

Frost covered dunes in the Mojave Desert

Frost covers the dunes during winter in the early morning. Sometimes solitude comes with no foot prints.

Moon and dune

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