Death Valley Adventure

January 2022  |  Death Valley, California

In January, 2022 I set out on an adventure that had been on my bucket list for years. Death Valley, California. On the first leg of my trip, I stopped off in Black Rock Desert, Nevada and after following driving directions from a very popular mapping service, I was completely and utterly lost! As the sun began it's decent in the sky and the light started to fade, I realized that it just wasn't in the cards for me to find the area I originally wanted to go, I settled for a spot nearly 25 miles down an unmaintained gravel/dirt/potholed road.

The spot I finally settled on was as remote a place that I had ever been. No roads, cars or people for miles around. That night I set up camp in sub freezing temperatures, made dinner, started a camp fire and turned my new bluetooth speaker up as loud as it would go. 11! I may have danced in the moonlight, I don't really remember. In any case, the first night of the trip was initially a bit of a nightmare, as I totally got lost and almost stuck in the mud but once I found a place to camp, the worm definitely turned for me! The evening sky was filled with stratocumulus clouds backlit by a full moon and the morning brought dense fog which was lit up like a torch by the morning sun. Really incredible first day.

On day two of my trip I was on the road to Death Valley. Just short of an 8 hour drive from Black Rock Desert, the mountains of Death Valley loomed large in the distance as I approached from the north. I had arrived!

Not really knowing what to expect, I drove into Stovepipe Wells Village to meet a group of photographers that had signed up for the same photography workshop that I had, all of which were as excited to start shooting as I was! The next day it was ON!

A short drive from Stovepipe Wells Village, the Mesquite Flat Dunes were our first introduction to the vastness and beauty of Death Valley. Some of our group had experienced these types of dunes before but for me it was a first. I was totally blown away by the beauty and perfect symmetry of the dunes!

Finally it was time to go shoot!

The dunes came in all shapes and sizes, snuggled up against the mountains of Death Valley.

Every day wasn't grand landscapes of dunes and mountains. Some days we shot straight down. One of the things that I loved about Death Valley was the fact that there was something brilliant to see in every direction! Click here to see what the camera above was capturing at that moment.

In between sunrise and sunset photoshoots, there was much needed resting time at camp. My campsite wasn't the most spectacular camp I've ever seen, in fact it was a dusty, gravel parking lot but served it's purpose well.

In fact, I made some of the best penne pasta with meat sauce that I've ever made in that dusty parking lot!

On one of our days in the dunes, there was an angry sand storm that started up late in the morning and blew all day.

30-40 mph winds stung our skin as the sand whipped around and invaded every open space.

We persevered!

Every day, spectacular views.

Moving on from the dunes and the mud flats, we made our way up into the mountains for sunrise.

Warmth in numbers.

The last day of our time in Death Valley. Ibex Dunes. The only monster I've ever seen in person, this nearly 300' dune was incredibly difficult for me to climb. Each step was a grueling battle with gravity and soft, sinking sand. If it weren't for the man ahead of me that was 20 years my senior, I'm not sure I would have made it to the top! Thanks for the motivation Bob!

Quite an amazing experience as we reached the top. The winds were once again howling and filled us with a sense of awe and of course sand!