The Ubehebe Crater, pronounced You-Bee-Hee-Bee, is a relatively recent formation by geological standards, estimated to have blown roughly 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately, due to the lack of actual lava flows, it is difficult to date this for certain. It formed by steam building up just below the surface and exploding at high pressure, creating a rain of pumice that extends several kilometers in all directions and this incredibly colorful "basket" shape. The natives, and yes there are natives that live in/around Death Valley, refer to it as "Coyote's Burden Basket" in their native language. There is a smaller crater to the right of the image shown here up on the slope called "Little Hebe"
The Dunes just past The Devil's Cornfield (named because of the arrowweed that grows in little rows there). There was a sign pointing to it saying "Sand Dunes". REALLY?!
This is the only place in California where, instead of seeing signs in English and Spanish, I've seen them in nothing but German and French. (This can be explained by the incredible amount of German and French tourists that come to this area, I spoke with a German at our campsite, in fact).
Scotty's Castle, built in 1880, was not actually owned by Death Valley Scotty, a con-man, goldminer and all around eccentric, but instead by a friend of his, or rather, a target of one of his schemes. It is a European themed villa, somewhat resembling a castle, located on the outskirts of Death Valley. How they managed to keep the electricity and water going during its early days is beyond me, but its definitely one of those oddities the desert has to offer.
A sign for the Junior Rangers at Scotty's Castle. I ask you, what is better than a scorpion wearing a backpack?
Why, the fact that you can be a junior ranger for life, of course! I'd love to see some 44 year old come up wearing this:
And just before I close, I just want to say a note to all of you who might listen to the Kevin and Bean show in the morning (KROQ/LA-based) and have, as a result, developed a certain impression of "The 909" or the "Inland Empire" as it were, I want to make you aware that I live in the Inland Empire. I know its full of hicks and yokels and cholos and whatnot, and the rumors are mostly true and for the love of GOD I cannot stand the urban areas just based on that and often joke about it myself, but nearly every one of these recent photo posts, unless noted otherwise, has been from...you guessed it...in or immediately around the IE...my neck of the woods.
So before you're so quick to dismiss the area entirely as a place to visit, take a moment to think, that yeah what we're lacking in population and collective brains (and how!) we make up for in natural splendor you just can't get in your big cities. :)