Planning is underway for another visit back to Death Valley this winter, which got me thinking and remembering my last visit.

Here is a post I made a couple of years ago… I had just returned from spending a week or so in Death Valley National Park, and while the trip was wonderful overall, there was an element to it that saddened me…

Separated by Joe Azure.

Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park

Not very long ago, I had the opportunity to go back the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park with Colby Brown and Peyton Hale. My previous trip to this location was during a photo walk in fall of 2011 (#DV2011), only a short 6 months ago.

Walking out to the playa last month, I was immediately struck by the significant changes that were visible to me. The very first thing that set the mood for me was that I recognized the rock at the far end of tracks in this image. What made me cry was that I saw that exact rock laying next to the road after getting out of my car.

The rest of the walk across this amazing ancient lakebed was a very sobering and somber experience for me. During the short 6 months since my previous visit, rocks had been moved, some rocks were missing entirely. New rocks had been placed haphazardly (I assume) around the lakebed, and some rocks had been obviously dragged through soft mud to make new tracks – footprints and all!!

This picture I am sharing, while not original – hell, these stones have been shot thousands of times – can not be taken again. Vandals have assured that, and for that I cried…


~ joe
March 2012

death valley, play, racetrack, sailing stones, sunset

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