When I went to Trona for its centennial celebration last year, I didn't swing by the Trona Pinnacles, even though I was right up there, and had driven all of that way. I figured I'd already seen them. What else was there to see?
But I forgot: with enough time, and the right state of mind, there is always something new to see.
The light is ever-changing.
The pinnacles are dying, getting smaller every year with no bubbling mineral springs to build them up.
And the plants are growing! Even the desert holly is green instead of that chalky white.
It was exactly this time of the year, three years ago when I first visited, but there were no little green sprouts back then...
...and no wildflowers. Or maybe I just didn't notice them.
Maybe I was so busy looking up at the other-worldly geologic formations that I didn't bother to look down much.
Then again, when you do look down...
...you are reminded of the desolation that surrounds you...
...in the arid Mojave that could swallow you hole, without making a sound.
And, as you survive, your periodic visits form a time-lapse of the prehistoric formations' imminent demise, frighteningly noticeable after only three years.
And the more they are visited, the more quickly they fade away.
Photo Essay: Trona Pinnacles
Photo Essay: 100 Years of Trona
Photo Essay: Searles Valley Minerals Plant Tour, Trona
Mono Lake: From Shore to Surface
Photo Essay: Landing on Another Planet, An Hour Outside of LA