Death Valley II: Father Crowley Point, Mesquite Flat Dunes


I was so lucky to enjoy rain in the Panamints and DV.

When crossing the Panamint range on Hwy 190 to get to Death Valley be sure to stop at Father Crowley Vista Point.
Named after the ‘Desert Padre’, this wide, paved rest stop is at the top of the grade so also a good place to cool engines and/or brakes. And stretch out new hip joints.
The views are worth the stop and the geology is different than DV.
Rainbow Canyon is a result of many eruptions of lava, ash, cinders and their colorful erosion since then. Such volcanism is unusual in Death Valley.
They are not kidding about the use of Panamint playa and the Saline and other valleys and ranges here for combat training.

Last trip here I caught some fast movers out of the corner of my eye but so wonderfully camouflaged were they that not even a seasoned plane-spotter like me could ID them*.
This trip a duo of ordnance laden F-15 fighter-bombers made a beautiful line astern steep turn right past me.
Heading down the playa at about two hundred feet up and about two hundred feet from the highway, their sound followed. Then they were gone.
Gas was only $3.39 per gallon at the first DV settlement, Stovepipe Wells. Costs a dollar more a gallon at Furnace Creek. You can pay your $30 park entrance fee here as well.
Snow on Telescope Peak and her sister mountains is not usual.
New motor mounts, battery, this and that to total about $1,000 of car maintenance paid off. Not a car glitch, my major anxiety.
Many first time visitors to Death Valley are surprised it is not covered with a sea of sand. NPS
Less than one percent of the desert is covered with dunes, yet the shadowed ripples and stark, graceful curves define “desert” in our imaginations.
For dunes to exist there must be a source of sand, prevailing winds to move the sand, and a place for the sand to collect.
The eroded canyons and washes provide plenty of sand, the wind seems to always blow (especially in the springtime), but there are only a few areas in the park where the sand is “trapped” by geographic features such as mountains. NPS
Some dune pics from my last trip here.
Even on a cloudy spring day wear your brimmed hat and shades and drink lots of water.


Required DV garb.

More Death Valley views and reviews in the next few posts.

*But of course not invisible as our treasonous president-by-accident believes.

Unless noted, all text and images produced and copyrighted by
Non-commercial, nonpolitical, non-religious, non-ideological use free with attribution.

2 thoughts on “Death Valley II: Father Crowley Point, Mesquite Flat Dunes

  1. Great time for photos. Not sure if Death Valley is a federal or state park but awhile back I got a senior lifetime federal park pass for $10. Not sure if that deal still stands what with the greedy millionaires in charge but you might want to look into it.

    • Glad you brought that up, sis. I’ve had the $10 lifetime pass forever. But you CANNOT print the dashboard park pass using the debit/credit kiosk! I accidentally paid the full $30 before I could back out of the transaction!

      You know what a tightwad I am. I went to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to talk to the resident ‘deep state’ agent, the park ranger. He immediately gave me a full refund. I prefer the ‘deep state’ to Nazis and white nationalists.

      I said, “maybe you could put up a warning sign on the machine”. He said, “people don’t read signs”, which I thought was true and funny.

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