POTD: Ubehebe #1

Ubehebe #1
Death Valley National Park, California
2017

Early one morning, I spent a couple of hours hiking the rim of the Ubehebe Crater in the northern part of Death Valley. I only walked about two miles total but the mostly dark volcanic ground combined with various contrasting plants and soils, aided with the long shadows from the low morning sun, made for some great photography. It seems like I often only walked a few steps before I saw something else worthy of pointing my camera at. That slowed my progress on the hike considerably.

This particular image shows the interior slope of the 600′ deep crater where it meets the flat, dried crater floor. The very light color of the crater floor was, I presume, alkaline material left on the ground after rainwater runoff collected there and then evaporated.

6 thoughts on “POTD: Ubehebe #1”

  1. It is certainly an “other worldly” place – especially at night. We were returning from an afternoon at the “race track” which turned into the blackest of nights I’ve ever seen. Thinking that we likely wouldn’t have time to come back in daylight that trip (or ever again) we pulled in. Talk about a black sheep at midnight in a coal mine! Black asphalt, black volcanic soil, sand and rocks against a moonless sky illuminated only by starlight. As I walked up to see what I could see, I found almost too late that I was at the rim and there was no warning sign, much less a safety rail, and barely escaped a 600 ft one-way tumble !!

    1. James, might I suggest a flashlight the next time? 🙂 There are user trails down to the bottom of the crater. I wasn’t tempted to check out the view from down there. And had you rolled all the way to the bottom, you likely would not have been in any condition to hoof it back up to the rim. It was just past a new moon when I was in Death Valley and the skies were very clear. The stars were amazing.

  2. I had the headlights on, but the edge of the rim was still a surprise!

    Did you get to Scotty’s Castle, and the “race track” where the rocks move and leave trails on the playa?

    1. In 2015, Scotty’s Castle, was the victim of a major flood and is still closed for renovation. The highway past Scotty’s Castle is missing a large section as well and, along with a number of other roads in the park, are still closed pending repairs. I’ve been to Death Valley a couple of times but have not made it to the race track. (Wrong kind of vehicle for one thing.) But I’ve seen many, many photos over the years of the moving rocks there.

  3. The perspective of this shot is deceiving. Before reading your caption, I “saw” the light portion as the top and the dark portion as the bottom! 🙂

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