A Different Salt Life

I do miss the Salt Life of the ocean; this time last year we were skirting the Gulf of Mexico on our way from Texas to Florida and loving the small towns along the way.  

The salt here is pervasive though, and in Death Valley the standing water at the lowest basins is sometimes saltier than the ocean.  

Badwater Basin

Here the geologic shifts create a low spot that gets so little rainfall that not much debris gets washed into it, so it gets lower and lower with each geologic movement. 

There’s a sign up on the mountain behind here that shows sea level, but it’s so high up I couldn’t get a decent photo of it!

There’s rare life that lives in the ultra-salty water, and animals won’t drink from it (hence the name from historic mule trains passing through). Badwater.  

Devil’s Golf Course

Nearby, the salt has been whipped into big chunks by wind, so you’re taking your life in your hands walking atop of the sharp mounds. 

Seriously, Tracy was holding his water bottle in one hand and his phone in the other to take this picture of me, and he almost lost his balance.

It was probably the most dangerous thing we’ve done here, including climbing those marble rock faces in the slot canyons.

Salt Creek Pupfish

The remnants of old rivers that ran through Death Valley are just little trickling creeks now, but the fish that lived in the rivers have survived and evolved to live in each isolated, salty creek. 

We walked along a boardwalk that led us safely over Salt Creek, where its tiny Pupfish live and are eaten by the few water birds in Death Valley.  

Several of these fish specifies are threatened or endangered, but I think the pupfish (too small for me to get a good shot) are in okay shape.  They skittered away from our shadows and clomping along the boardwalk, but we could see prints from herons in the sand below them. 

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