Salt flats all around, cool this early morning in January. The Panamint Range brillant, but bare--- bare of trees, bare of snow despite rising to over 11,000 feet high. It's other-worldly here in the lowest place in both North and South America.
Saltbrush in the brillant sun. The climate is so hostile and bizarre on the Death Valley floor that plants have adapted by doing their major growing during the cool season, and then going dormant during the long hot season. On this cool but pleasant morning in January, this hardy silver survivor may be stirring. in contrast, the image to the right is interesting because those fierce-looking plants actully are not hardy enough to survive in the hottest, lowest parts of Death Valley where the saltbrush lives. These spikey guys live a few thousand feet higher up, where there is a bit more rainfall and a climate not quite as ferocious in the summer. They look like stunted, broken-down Joshua trees, but I cannot confirm that.