Point Reyes National Seashore

On our road trip in California, we stayed in Petaluma. We enjoyed very much  this area. We spent a full day in Point Reyes National Seashore.  From the parking lot  (where the bus drops the tourists – to avoid too much cars on the road of the park) we walked a few minutes and then descended 300 narrow steps to get as close as possible to the lighthouse.

Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Weeks of fog, especially during the summer months, frequently reduce visibility to hundreds of feet. The Point Reyes Headlands, which jut 10 miles out to sea, pose a threat to each ship entering or leaving San Francisco Bay. The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse warned mariners of danger for more than a hundred years. It was  built in 1870 and  retired from service in 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light.

In March it is time to try to see migrating whales when they go back to Alaska. The docents were trying to count how many were passing by. We saw some actions in the water but couldn’t really see  the mammals.  The best I could do was to take a pic of the toy gray whale on the table.

Point Reyes National Seashore  is a protected haven for tule elks. This one noticed that I wanted his picture !

In another area of the park, we could see some elephant seals. There were a few , mostly pups and juveniles  not ready to leave the beach yet.  They were quietly napping!

We saw lots of beautiful flowers. California Poppy, Golden Aster, Checkerbloom Douglas Iris…

On our way back toward Petaluma, we stopped to Inverness.  I took some pics of  the iconic  Point  Reyes Shipwreck perched on a sand bar off the shoreline of Tomales Bay. This is a small fishing boat  that had become a popular attraction for photographers.

One  day was almost not enough to enjoy it to the fullest  but that was all the time we had as the next day, we were going to see some wineries . That will be  the topic of my next post. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story and the photos.

 

 

Zabriskie Point and Mosaic Canyon. (DVNP)

Zabriskie Point, the golden badlands. Deathly silent and still . Result of often violent action of water and earthquake.  Another amazing area of this splendid park. Enjoy the photos I brought back.

Time for another hike… in Golden Canyon.

I have great memories of this day.  Blue sky  and fantastic landscapes to capture. We still had some time the next morning to explore Mosaic  Canyon, a showcase of geologic features. Out and back hike within polished marble narrow filled with unique color pattern. Many times I felt the need to touch the soft walls of the canyon. It was early in the morning and just perfect weather.

Goodbye  Death Valley.   A very unique  and special place it is.

Thank you for visit and comments. Always very appreciated.

 

 

 

 

More on Death Valley National Park

The story of our visit in Death Valley continues here…

Now , we will go  for a short hike to see the Natural bridge. We hiked up the dramatic canyon to see this formation. It was  very hot. We did not know yet that  we were getting one of the warmest day of our trip !

Death Valley’s dramatic relief is the result of fracturing and tilting of the Earth’s  surface which transformed the regions’ once featureless terrain to the spectacular landscape present today.

Another  interesting  place to see was the Devils Golf Course. We were not going to play golf  but have a look at the crystallized salt. It was named after a line in the 1934  National Park Service   guide book to Death Valley National Monument, which stated that “Only the devil could play golf” on its surface, due to a rough texture from the large halite salt crystal  formations.

One more  short hike on that day to see the Golden Canyon. One of the most popular hike in the park. Narrow passageway beneath high colorful hills  that ends at sculpted canyon head wall.

Very  important to drink as much water as possible on those very hot days.

DVNP, the hottest place on earth. It holds the record : 134 F/ 57C.

Thanks to all for  reading and/or commenting .  More on DVNP  with my next post.

 

 

 

Badwater Salt Flat

Lowest point in North America and the driest place in USA.  We were 282 feet/86 m below sea level.  A very  impressive site.

It was quite amazing to see snow on that mountain, the Panamint range.

The salt flats in Badwater Basin cover nearly 200 square miles, among the largest protected salt flats in the world. The vast surreal salt flats of Badwater Basin change constantly. Sodium chloride-better know as table salt- makes up the majority of salts of this basin. Other minerals found there include calcite, gypsum and BORAX.

A   DVNP ranger  and a scientist from the  SETI Institute  were there that day to explain to the tourists about rain and storm in DV.

More to come  on my blog  with other areas of the park… Thanks for your comment or visit.

 

Harmony Borax Works

The story of our time in DVNP continues here…

After  spending time on the sand dunes , we drove to see  The Harmony Borax Works, an historic mining site where the famous 20-mule Team wagon began their grueling  165 mile   (264 km) journey south to the Mojave railroad depot. This place is an outside  museum  with lots of information.

Twenty mule Teams is the symbol of the Borax industry. A mineral found in soil, plants and even our bodies. It can be used as a laundry booster and many other uses. Harmony Borax works was the central feature in the opening of Death Valley. The first discovery was made in 1881. It was transported via 20 mule team. The plant shut down in 1928. Borax was also found in other countries.

You probably know a little bit more about borax if you read all the panels I shared with you.  It is hot , very hot in Death Valley, so we will move on to another spot and enjoy the AC in the car  for a few minutes ! Our next stop is The Badwater Salt Flat and it will be the topic  ( with photos of course) of my next post.

Thank you ! Have a great WE.

 

Salt Creek interpretive trail.

Death Valley National Park was the highlight of my trip in California in 2017. The first evening we  enjoyed was  a spectacular sunset.

The next morning, we were up early and ready to explore this vast area. The salt creek trail has a boardwalk that allow us to visit the salt marsh.

It was amazing to see the rare pupfish in the creek. Their lifespan is one year or less. So these tiny fish are in a hurry to feed and breed.   Pupfish got their name because they seemed as playful as puppies. They live in temperature ranges from 0 to 100C ( 32F to 212 F). They can live in water 3 times as salty as the ocean. They have been around for 20,000 years. Pupfish are desert survivors.

It was fun to see little lizards and see how fast they move.

We needed to get going with our visit as there is so much to see in DVNP.

More from our exploration in the park on my next post.

Thanks for reading !

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (DVNP)

March 2017.  So 4 months ago we were  in DVNP…

Morning on the sand dunes was fantastic. Before it was too warm and crowded. I took many  photos and here I will share some with you.  And also  advices from a SAND DUNE:

Soak up the sunshine, stay loose, keep moving, embrace winds of change, make positive ripples, don’t get carried away, show your true grit !!!

Pretty flower I saw on the edge of the sand dune.  Larrea tridentata is known as creosote bush .

DVNP is a large area to cover in two days.  So we did not waste too much time as we really wanted to see as much as possible. I will post more photos in another post of  other areas  of the park. Hopefully you enjoyed the photos here . Thanks for your visit.