Photographer's Note

After several Ireland posts, I was in the mood for a dramatic u-turn from my recent posts. The numerous desert landscapes in California seem to be as far from the Emerald Isle as possible. So I whisk you away to the desert now..

The trail to the top of the Eureka Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park, one of the highest dunes fields in the United States, can be easy to see but devilishly difficult to follow. For each step up in the steep sinking sand you'll slide back at least a half step. What looks like a moderate hike up winds up leaving you very winded.

I made the trip to this remote section of Death Valley NP in December which turns out to be a fine time to visit. At this time of year, the days are still very sunny and daytime temperatures hover around 72F (22C). That allows you to comfortably climb these sand dunes barefoot and the sand is very cool and refreshing on the feet. Compare this to the summer when the temperatures might be pushing 115F (46C) and I guarantee you won't be walking barefoot on that sand.

This section of Death Valley is somewhat proximate to Big Pine on highway 395 that runs north/south at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Eastern California. A dream itinerary for the photo-touring landscape photographer might be to combine these dunes with a visit to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest out of Big Pine. This itinerary could probably only be carried out during summer months since the road to the Bristlecones is closed in the winter.

Hope you enjoy!

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Additional Photos by Douglas Arrasin (darrasin) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 717 W: 55 N: 835] (2860)
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