100 Days of National Parks: Day 59 – Wandering Stones, Death Valley National Park

Wandering Stones

Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is one of those places that make you realize how strange and mysterious the world can actually be. Walking along the cracked and dry lake bed, miles and miles from the nearest civilization, you come across strange, serpentine tracks left in the dry mud. Following these tracks bring you to the infamous “Wandering Stones” of the Racetrack, and the reason the playa received its name. These stones, some too heavy to lift, slide along the valley floor for reasons that, until recently, were a complete mystery to scientists and casual visitors to the area. While it’s now known that these strange tracks are created by periods of freezing and thawing of winter water cover, which buoys the stones along, dragging long furrows in the muddy ground, walking through this desolate and remote section of Death Valley is still one of the stranger experiences you can find in any National Park.

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Wandering Stones

Wandering Stones
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Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is one of those places that make you realize how strange and mysterious the world can actually be.  Walking along the cracked and dry lake bed, miles and miles from the nearest civilization, you come across strange, serpentine tracks left in the dry mud.  Following these tracks bring you to the infamous “Wandering Stones” of the Racetrack, and the reason the playa received its name.  These stones, some too heavy to lift, slide along the valley floor for reasons that, until recently, were a complete mystery to scientists and casual visitors to the area.  While it’s now known that these strange tracks are created by periods of freezing and thawing of winter water cover, which buoys the stones along, dragging long furrows in the muddy ground, walking through this desolate and remote section of Death Valley is still one of the stranger experiences you can find in any National Park.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 59 – Wandering Stones, Death Valley National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 41 – Teakettle Junction, Death Valley National Park

Sometimes it’s the randomness of a place, the strange traditions it’s inspired, the sense of discovery when you stumble upon it without expecting it, that makes it great. For all intents and purposes there’s nothing special about the junction of Hidden Valley Road and Racetrack Valley Road in Death Valley National Park. Like much of the park, there’s a lot of dirt, some barren mountains, more dirt, some rocks, and a few scraggly desert bushes for texture, but not much else. Except for the sign, that is.

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Teakette Junction

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Sometimes it’s the randomness of a place, the strange traditions it’s inspired, the sense of discovery when you stumble upon it without expecting it, that makes it great.  For all intents and purposes there’s nothing special about the junction of Hidden Valley Road and Racetrack Valley Road in Death Valley National Park.  Like much of the park, there’s a lot of dirt, some barren mountains, more dirt, some rocks, and a few scraggly desert bushes for texture, but not much else.  Except for the sign, that is.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 41 – Teakettle Junction, Death Valley National Park”