We decided for the first time on our trip to skip the sunrise and take advantage of the extra sleep. Traveling to get here and getting up early every morning was beginning to take a toll, so when we finally hit the road at about 10am we were feeling better and more rested.
Scouting for the evening, we headed over to Badwater to see how the level of water was impacting the area. When we had left the valley a couple of days previously, most of the salt flats were submerged in water creating a shallow lake. We weren’t sure if the two days we had been gone would mean that some of the water would have evaporated, or if more water would have seeped through the ground to further deepen the lake.
When we got to Badwater we made sure to add some sunblock to protect from the mid 70’s temperature, and headed out on the tourist path toward the flats. There were absolutely no salt polygons… none. There was considerably more water on the valley floor, and it had encroached almost to within a half mile of the parking lot. Stretching as far as the eye could see from south to north, the lake was quite impressive. As we made our way back to the car we appreciated that we had got to see the salt flats a couple of days before, though we couldn’t help wondering how long it would take for the famous salt ridges and shapes to return? In the meantime, here’s an image depicting what this area “normally” looks like.