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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Walking across Badwater Basin, Death Valley - "floor changed to pure salt crystals"

Many times over the years I stopped at Badwater and looked ascross the basin and wondered what it would be like to walk across to the other side.
We drove the West Side Road to Shorty's Well and hiked east across the basin to Badwater. Departed Shorty's Well at 8 PM

About 9 PM and we have been hiking through salt blisters for about 45 minutes.

Now the surface of the basin floor has changed to pure salt crystals.

Next came giant hexagonal salt honeycomb shapes.

Some of them were more than 18 inches high.

Then the conditions changed to salt crystals with mud about two inches below the surface.

We changed our clothes and posed for a photo.
The hike took about 3 1/2 hours and one of the most unique walks I have ever taken.

We set up camp a few miles south on the Harry Wade Road because it was late, we were tired and there was no Tacoma with a FWC. I slept out and

Jan slept inside.

Why no Tacoma with a FWC?
During the last few miles of dirt road on our Arizona Strip trip in April we hit a deceptively severe wash crossing that sent the truck bouncing high and crashing down.
I remarked to Jan, "that is going to leave a mark." It did. When we stopped and checked for damage it was obvious that the truck was headed in for repairs upon our return to CA.