Day 520: The Amazing Trona Pinnacles

This morning we hitched up and filled up at the Furnace Creek gas station before leaving Death Valley.  We’ve been on the road so long that this doesn’t even qualify as a tight fit:

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So long, Death Valley!  I was sad to leave, but I’m sure we will be back someday:

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We drove north and west to cross Townes Pass, then drove south through the Panamint Valley to the company town of Trona, California, named after the mineral mined there.  From there, we drove south on a dirt road to the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark.

The pinnacles are tufa spires formed here when this basin was the floor of a 600 foot deep lake.  Hot springs beneath the lake floor squirted calcite-rich water up into the cooler lake water, which cooled the spring water and precipitated out calcium carbonate around the spring vents.  Over time, these precipitates accumulated and built up around the vents to heights of over 140 feet tall.

As the Sierra Nevada mountains continued to rise, less and less rain clouds were able to make it over the mountains from the ocean.  The climate in the valley became increasingly dry, and the lake dried up, leaving the previously submerged lake floor and its tufa spires exposed: 

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We picked a flat spot next to one of the tufa spires to call home:

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There are hundreds of spires here:

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Dozens of movies have been filmed here.  We are parked on the left side of the spire that is brushing McCoy’s shoulder in this scene from Star Trek 5:

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Getting ready for Shabbos at the pinnacles:

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Sunset was amazing:

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Good Shabbos from the Trona Pinnacles:

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See the trip map for today’s drive and our current location.

Day 519: Death Valley Visit 2, Day 10
Day 522: Flooded Out at the Trona Pinnacles

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