Sundog, Lake Marie Oregon 2018

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mesquite Flats Dunes, Death Valley

On Wednesday, we started our day with a walk into the sand dunes at Mesquite Flats.  

Most of the Death Valley floor is either a hard salt and sand mix with a variety of scrubby creosote bush, desert holly, and salt grass. In this area and in one other, the sand has been trapped by the wind currents and has developed into shifting dunes.

I found my trekking poles came in handy, but were not really necessary.  The top few inches of sand were soft and loose, below that I could feel a hard base.

I now have a tactile understanding of why camels have big feet.

When I got to the top I was quite warmed up and took off my windbreaker.  It was quite a distance.  Everything is farther away or bigger than it seems.

There were many footprints along the ridges and on the sides of the dunes closest to the parking area giving evidence to the many people who have walked there recently.  I don't know how much of a wind it takes to erase them.

I'm glad we were able to experience the dunes, knowing the damage we did was temporary. Our tracks will be blown away.  

The park information indicated the dunes extend about two miles, getting smaller as they go.  This was taken from the top of one of the largest dunes.  It was neat to see the sand mostly unmarred.

We had two other small adventures Wednesday, but I will leave those for the next post. 

Weather report:  First week of January 2013, Death Valley National Park.  Overnight temps in high 30's.  No worry about freezing water hose or pipes.  Afternoon temperatures very comfortable in the mid to high 60's.  Sunny.  Great for hiking!

For more great pictures of Death Valley, check out Carol K's blog.
 She and Dave were here at the same time.


  1. Great trek! I love the photos you were able to get of the tops of the other dunes!

  2. Who's that real tall guy standing there next to you?

  3. I am having so much fun reading your blog and Carol's. I can hardly wait to get back there.

  4. Lol, maybe you need snowshoes to walk on the sand dunes.

  5. Great pictures. Weather sounds perfect...sure makes me want to visit.

  6. Winter is such a great time to be there, tho yes, it can be cold at night (camping in the canyons can get way too exciting for folks in tents). Not sure if there is much blooming yet, but if you can return between maybe mid-February and March, the belly flowers are a riot.

    Just outside the park you can see the isolated pupfish populations in luminous green-blue water at Ash Meadows. Zeolite was mined near there and accounts for some of the colour.

  7. Sounds wonderful! I never got to explore the dunes, wish I had! I did explore Little Sahara in Utah, which was fun, though the sand rails and other motorized vehicles really mess it up. I'm loving your adventure!


  8. Fantastic! Wish I could join y'all. I live only ho-hum here in Texas.

  9. I was showing Al your pictures and he just kept saying "wow."

    I love the new header picture. In fact they are all amazing. More please!


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