Mesquite Sand Dunes, California, USA by Roy Goldsberry

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In June of 2017 my wife and I took a trip that was a big loop in central California, taking in several national parks and other scenic locations. However, there were a number of things that we could not do because some roads were not open yet from the winter snow. We decided to go back in the fall of the following year to pick up the things that we had missed, and to see some new ones.

One of those new places was Death Valley National Park, which is particularly dry, and rather by definition a difficult place for anything to live. We deliberately made it the last stop on the trip so that it would not be uncomfortably hot. There is a lot to see here, and we stayed for 3 nights.

On the first morning, I went out early to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. I was not the first person in the parking area, but I also did not see anyone out in front of me as I headed into the dunes. Climbing sand dunes is a bit difficult, as your foot tends to slide down the slope almost as far as the length of your step. Eventually, you do make it up. As I proceeded across the dunes taking shots, I found myself on the crest of a dune, with the ridge making a very nice leading line into the next dune. The distant mountains and the sky were a contrasting blue. I set up very low to the dune top to take this shot. It was beautiful, but not an easy place to survive for long. A couple small desert shrubs were the only living things to be seen.

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