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 Death Valley National Park

California

All Photographs Brian & Nancy Morganti


Death Valley

Mt Whitney - Alabama Hills

Lee Flat - Saline Valley - Warm Springs

March 2010

March 13, 2010

Once again we were up early and departed our hotel in Lone Pine by 6:25am.  At least we didn't have to go far for our first photo-op, Mt. Whitney and the Alabama Hills were located just a few miles to our west.  Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States at an elevation of 14,505.  Interestingly it is located just 76 miles west of the lowest elevation in North America at Badwater in Death Valley which is 282 feet below sea-level.  We spent the first few hours photographing Mt. Whitney, the Sierra Nevada and the rugged Alabama Hills.  After having lunch in Lone Pine Bill guided us along the remote and sometimes treacherous Saline Valley Road.  We first stopped at an old box car which was converted into a rest stop of sorts for folks traveling through the area.  We next traveled through a vast Joshua Tree forest that stretched from horizon to horizon. 

We then continued north circumnavigating the occasional boulders that had fallen onto the road over the winter to the site of the old Salt Tram ruins near Warm Springs.  An electric-powered tram was built in that region circa 1913 by the Saline Valley Salt Company to carry salt in 286 rust-resistant buckets from the Saline Valley playa 13.5 miles over the Inyo Mountains to the neighboring Owens Valley.  After photographing the remnants of this tram we decided to check out the Warm Springs, a true oasis in the middle of the desert.  To get to the Springs we first had to drive several miles on unmarked sand pathways though the Saline Valley Sand Dunes.  Upon arriving at the dunes we discovered what best could be described as a hamlet for left-over hippies from the 60's!  There were several military-style vehicles, partially covered with mesh netting that appeared to serve as seasonal "campers" for their owners.  I walked around and took a few photos of the unoccupied natural hot-tubs before we headed back to Saline Valley Road.  By this time it was after sunset and we were 46 miles (about a two hour drive) from where we first entered the Saline Valley.  The other end of the road was more or less equally distant, but was reported to be closed by deep snow. 

I wasn't too thrilled with navigating this road again, especially in the dark, but would be looking forward to the pristine night skies views from the Lee Flat area.  As expected, the sky was spectacular from that high elevation and Bill and I both managed to capture a few great nightscapes before heading back to Lone Pine for the night.

 


Mount Whitney - Morning Light

 


Mount Whitney - Morning Light

 


Mount Whitney - Morning Light

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mount Whitney Area - Alabama Hills

 


Mine Shaft

 


Rusted Mining Equipment

 


Death Valley - Lee Flat Box Car

 


Death Valley - Lee Flat Box Car Interior

 


Death Valley - Lee Flat - Joshua Forest


Death Valley - Lee Flat - Joshua Forest - Bill Reid

 


Death Valley - Saline Valley Salt Tram

 


Death Valley - Saline Valley Salt Tram

 


Death Valley - Saline Valley Salt Tram Remnants

 


Death Valley - Saline Valley Salt Tram

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs Oasis

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs - Entrance Sign

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs Occupants

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs Accommodations

 


Death Valley - Warm Springs Occupants

 


Death Valley - Lee Flat - Winter Milky Way

 


Death Valley - Lee Flat - Zodiacal Light

 

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