Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is a mighty mysterious place, be you a scientist or a mere human in awe. Aside from the sheer beauty and elemental intensity of the place, it is home to huge rocks (some weighing over a third of a ton) that move, leaving long furrows in the hard dry lake bed. Though studied since 1900, there are no definitive answers behind the mechanism, as the conditions must be harsh indeed to allow such feats of strength. The standing theory calls for the following recipe: when the playa is covered by a shallow lake with a frozen layer on top, very high winds can move the rocks now somewhat suspended in slippery ice.
After a headachy three hour drive over washboard roads, we arrived a second time to this place that makes you return again and again. Our prize was a full moon night on the playa, bright and lit up more like a vision than waking life.
No, we were not thinking about the Obelisk in Planet of the Apes. But you are!
Though truth be told, that night was a rather transformative encounter.
Above is a shockingly beautiful panorama shot by Dan Duriscoe of National Park Service. Be sure to enlarge the image and delight in all the details of its full glory.
See Saline Valley Gallery for more Death Valley inspired creations and photography.