It was a beautiful day for a short hike through a "unique habitat (that) is home to kit fox, burrowing owls, lizards, rodents and sidewinder rattlesnakes.
"(In the course of that walk), you'll wander through relatively flat sandy areas marked by cracked mud silt, creosote and mesquite brush" (protrails.com/trails/view/36/death_valley_national_park/ mesquite_flat_sand_dunes).
The dunes are surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. Immediately to the south is the Tucki Mountain complex. Behind it to the west are the Panamint Mountains, Death Valley's highest range. To the east (the view shown in the three photos below) are the Grapevine Mountains and Funeral Mountains, which provide a photogenic backdrop.
We had parked along Highway 190 in Death Valley National Park for this walk in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
"Many first time visitors to Death Valley are surprised it is not covered with a sea of sand. Less than one percent of the desert is covered with dunes, yet the shadowed ripples and stark, graceful curves define 'desert' in our imaginations" (nps.gov/deva/naturescience/sand-dunes).
The farther north I walked, the fewer signs of other visitors there were. Soon footprints virtually disappeared.
For some, the experience of relative isolation in the dunes was the goal.
We are two retirees--Chuck, 64, and Kate, 63--who decided to travel the U.S. On June 13, 2008, we began our long-talked-about travels by heading south from our home in Pennsylvania in our Ford 550 and 38’ New Horizons fifth wheel.
Our travel aim is to meet people and go at least "knee-deep" into the culture of several communities. To learn what is important in the lives of the residents of the towns, villages, and farms of America is our primary interest.
When not learning about what people do, we will be (1) sampling the foods that help people do what needs to be done and (2) listening to the music of their culture.
A neighborhood joint or local hall serving liquid refreshment and featuring a jam session with local musicians . . . well, it just doesn't get any better.
We welcome comments, questions, or suggestions of people to meet, places to visit, and "don't miss" neighborhood joints for food and/or music. Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org