At the Racetrack

Watching the race at the Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California
Watching the race. Not quite NASCAR.
Racetrack, Death Valley, California, National Park, sunset

Sunset at the Racetrack : Prints Available

The Racetrack is a mysterious and fascinating location in Death Valley National Park – a flat dry lakebed playa in a remote desert valley where large rocks seem to have moved around by their own volition, leaving random tracks in the dry mud revealing their path. How did these rocks move?

Racetrack, Death Valley, California, National Park

Moonrise at the Racetrack : Prints Available

The theory is that given just the right conditions, rain will flood the playa, then freeze, and then once the ice starts melting a little, strong winds will blow the ice-bound rocks around on the slick mud underneath. It’s hard to believe, but the tracks are there – something made these rocks slide all around the playa!

Racetrack, Death Valley, California, National Park, moon

Racetrack Curves : Prints Available

These particular tracks – illuminated by the setting moon – are especially interesting. At first glance I assumed that they were car tracks – that some idiot had driven his car out there. Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that no car in the world could make tracks like this! Even more mysterious is that about a hundred feet away from these tracks are an almost exactly identical pattern, but aligned facing a different orientation. It boggles the mind!

5 thoughts on “At the Racetrack

  1. Paul Beiser

    Cool stuff Jack.. love the pic of you and Claudia.. STELLAR :-).

    Hard to believe no one has figured out or video’d the rock’s moving..

    Reply
  2. jiya

    It’s neat to see your take on these places, Jack. I’ve been in there a lot via the river, but not since my photography became competent, alas. Thunder River may well be my pick for coolest place I’ve ever been, and Deer Creek is not far behind. I’d love to do it as a backpack someday!

    Reply

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