When I think of desert, I think of sand. Surprisingly less than 1% of the valley is covered with dunes and the Mesquite Flat Dunes are some of the most accessible, right down the road from where we camped.
With bag chairs still in the Jeep from our sunrise at Badwater Basin, we packed up some evening beverages and walked…and walked…and walked…(this stuff is so fine it’s hard to walk on!) to just the right spot to capture the sun setting over the mountains.
The Mesquite Flat Dunes are at the northern end of the valley floor and are nearly surrounded by mountains on all sides. These dunes have been used to film scenes for several movies including the Star Wars series. The largest dune is called Star Dune and is relatively stationary because it is at a point where the various winds that shape the dunes converge.
The depth of the sand at its crest is 130–140 feet which sounds big, but this is small compared to other dunes in the area that have sand depths of up to 600–700 feet deep.
In between many of the dunes are stands of mesquite, which used to cover this part of the valley before the dunes intruded. Mesquite is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant plant because it can draw water through its long taproot (recorded at up 190 ft!).
8:30 p.m.- 93 degrees.
Even the breeze here is hot! We still enjoyed the sand dunes until the first stars showed up, then time to head back to the nice cool RV.
2 thoughts on “Sunset at Mesquite Flat Dunes, Death Valley”
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