The first morning in Death Valley I simply took a walkabout straight out across the desert from camp. I soon became fascinated by the various tracks left in the sand from the evening's activities. Most desert animals are active at night and I wondered about the stories that each track could tell. No doubt most were searching for food in one form or the other. It could be seeds or another critter. The tracks could be of the predator or the prey.
A kangaroo rat?
Even the wind leaves its tracks.
This fly or bee was so engrossed in his excavating that he couldn't care less that I was hovering right over him only inches away to get a shot.
This was a fun day, just casually walking along through the dunes, so peaceful and quiet, warm and sunny.
Whenever I do these walkabouts in the desert, my imagination always takes me back 150 years.
I think about the pioneers, the prospectors and native Americans.
Try as I do, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult and dangerous it was for them.
Me with all my comfort and modern conveniences only a couple miles away in my little movable home.
Them with everything they own in a wagon, on a mule or on their backs.
Hundreds of miles from where they came, from any help or assistance, from food or water.
And of course, I am always dreaming of finding some long lost artifact. But so far those treasures have always been limited to rusty tin cans or pieces of a broken bottle.
I'm still waiting to come across that abandoned six shooter from long ago.