Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photo Essay: Salt Creek, Death Valley



The first time I went to Death Valley in 2008, I wasn't really a hiker yet so I just sort of drove around the vast expanse of the largest national park in the continuous 48 states, stopping along the way to do a bit of sightseeing where I could.

When I returned this weekend, I was determined to see more, but I assumed that meant I would be hiking.

But actually Death Valley is so vast that they don't even have that many official trails. There are a few short, accessible, interpretive trails for sure, but mostly the park literature just encourages you to pick and place and start walking (unlike many parks which insist you STAY ON THE TRAIL).

I don't think I'm quite ready for that.

So this weekend I gladly drove around and did a bit more sightseeing, since there was plenty that I hadn't seen four years ago, including Salt Creek.



Yes, there is water in Death Valley.



Sometimes.





And it sure is salty.



In the winter you can find some shore birds around the creek, but in the spring (which is almost right around now), you find thriving spawns of pupfish, tiny little salt-resilient fish that playfully dart around the water and dig around in the bottom.

But I hear they are elusive. Locals say the stream and the fish can be thriving one week, and then just...disappear...the next...

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