Manly Beacon and the Badlands

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manley_beaconNow that I am not driving, I have the chance to go back through the folders of images that I made on this trip. As always, there are some that dropped through the cracks that might be worth sharing. Here’s a couple more from the morning spent at Zabriskie point.

Manly Beacon is an icon of Death Valley. Named after William L. Manly who guided Gold Rush prospectors out of Death Valley in 1849, this spire stands as a beacon overlooking the valley floor and the Golden Canyon Badlands. This is a very popular vista, and surely anyone who visits Death Valley has made a photograph from Zabriskie Point with it included?

In the image below, you can see the effects of intense rainstorms and their erosive power. Death Valley doesn’t get that much rain in any given year (less than 2 inches on average), but when it does, the power of the storms can be literally earth-moving.

This surreal landscape originated when sediment was deposited here from long-ago dried-up Furnace Creek Lake. With no soil or vegetation to help anchor the land, heavy rains attack the fragile mudstone. As the water rushes and seeks a quick way to lower ground, it creates gullies and troughs that remind us of the immense power of nature. In the background you can also see the snow-capped top of Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range, towering 11,049 feet above sea level.

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