Thursday, January 11, 2007
sand, soap and imagined cornfield
We wanted to visit a few of the sights in Death Valley that we were not able to get to on our last visit. So we headed into the park and climbed the sand dunes that have been formed in certain locations by the sand deposited over time by the winds. There are just a relatively few places in the park that have these dune hills. They have been formed by the unique combination of wind, mountains and valley geography. This was an enjoyable hike in January. In the hot temperatures of summer, it likely would be a lot less enjoyable. Very near by is a section of the desert that has been called the devil’s Cornfield. I do not really see it, but you can judge for yourself.
Lastly, we visited the sight of the original Borax mines. This brought back memories of the television commercials when I was a young child showing the “20 mule team Borax” ads for their laundry detergents. Borax was used in many different applications besides household use. This mine used Chinese labor recruited from San Francisco to extract the mineral along with the unwanted contaminates from the Death Valley Salt Pan and bring it to the process plant on sight, were the Borax was extracted and prepared for shipment by 20 mule team wagons to the nearest railhead 165 miles away.
Tonight we are preparing for the big winter storm that the weathermen have been talking about for days. We can only hope it will not be as cold and windy as they predict.