California, 3rd November, Artist's Palette

Furnace Creek is really well situated for some of the major attractions of Death Valley. It is just off the road leading down to Badwater, the lowest part of the valley. So we decided to drive to Artist's Palette, an area of coloured rock lying to the west of the Badwater road.
We stopped by the side of the main road to take pictures of the coloured hills in the warm late afternoon sunshine. The colour is caused by oxidisation of different metals, iron, mica and manganese, in the rocks.

Then we drove into Artist's Drive, a rough one way road leading into the area of coloured stone. There is a car park looking over the main area of interest. When we got there it was quite crowded and people were walking around the tracks leading through the rocks. We hung on and the sun started to go down. Not a dramatic sunset, there was very little colour in the sky, but the hues in the rocks started to come out nicely.

As it got dark the car park emptied completely and we were on our own again. The moon came out over the hills and the you could almost touch the stillness. We gazed in wonderment at the rising moon and finally left in near pitch dark to wend our way through the tortuous bends in Artist's Drive and finally home.

When we got back we met up with Mairi's friends Lily and Susie who had also come into the valley. Our firewood, which we had carried all the way from Yosemite and which we had planned for a campfire that evening had disappeared from our site, so we had to make do with extra coats as it did get chilly at night.


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