This is vast Badwater Basin in Death Valley. If there is a quintessential location in Death Valley, this is it. It is at once strikingly beautiful and incredibly inhospitable.
This usually dry lake is a salt pan where the salt is forced out of the moist depths to create this pattern of sharp edged ridges. The ridges seen here are about 3-4 inches high but I’ve seen them over a foot tall. Sometimes this whole area floods from distant rains and becomes a shallow lake. When the lake evaporates, the salt ridges are no longer there having dissolved in the water. The ridge building process then begins again as the salt precipitates up from below. And while this salt is pristine white, it’s not always the case. After a dust storm it can be coated with a uniform dull brown until an infrequent rain washes the dirt away. You never know exactly what it will be like until you get there. It’s always a surprise!
All Photographs © 2019 John Grusd Photography. All Rights Reserved.