But I still have images to process from the trip to Death Valley (not too many - I'm getting there) before it got too hot. The sand dunes were definitely the highlight of the trip, although arduous; I will never forget tramping up and down those slopes, then standing on the crest of a dune at dawn, listening to the wind.
Here are a few more Mesquite Dunes pics:
This was taken right at sunrise to get that rich, low light.
I really enjoyed how the rising sun turned the sunward slope into burnished gold, while the shadowed slope gave up so much detail.
Even once the sun was up, the wind patterns on the sand were still fascinating.
And just as a little bonus, here's another image. If you leave Death Valley via Daylight Pass, just after you cross into Nevada there's a little ghost town called Rhyolite. There's not much to see: a couple of fenced-off buildings, some abandoned machinery and a fenced-off boxcar. But if you drive south of town, back towards the highway, on a very rough track, you come to the long-disused cemetery. I found this place to be very humbling and moving, because there's not much to see there, either. There are a few more recent graves that are recognizably (relatively) modern and well-marked, and there's a bronze plaque dedicated to the memory of those who pioneered mining in the Mojave. Touchingly, some of the graves had flowers left there (presumably by descendants still living in the area). But as for the rest... The cemetery is separated from the rest of the great Mojave desert by nothing more than a bit of wire and a few fence posts, and the few, stark reminders of these people's lives are at best ephemeral.
A lesson in humility: this weathered, decaying wood is the only sign that a human being once lived and worked in the Mojave.
"I met a traveller from an antique land..."