Mosaic Canyon is located in Death Valley. It is a moderate hike that is listed as suitable for all ages. It has marbled walls which at some points are rather narrow. What one sees as they hike back is colorful slick rod and polished marble along with multi colored rock fragments that look like they are cemented together. Countless flash floods have rushed down through the canyon through eons of time to polish the the walls, creating true marble. If one hikes the whole canyon they would end up at a dry waterfall. We only walked the first quarter mile, having already hiked a fair amount that day.
You can see the salt basin in Death Valley can be seen for miles. It is a long and or wide ribbon of white in many of our photographs. The salt flats in Badwater Basin cover nearly 200 square miles. The basin is the end of a 9,000 square mile drainage system. As rainfalls and snow melt from distant mountains empty into this basin it has nowhere else to go (an endorheic basin). The formed temporary lakes evaporate, leaving concentrated minerals, mostly salt.
Walking out on the salt was a bit like walking on a salt lick! It is sort of hard, yet crunchy. There is a bit of an odor but it is not bad. While there is a sign up on the rock behind the parking lot (see if you can find it . . . white . . . very small) indicating the sea level, the actual lowest part of the lower Continental US is actually some miles away and very difficult to access.
Red Rock Canyon State Park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range on SR 14. The Natural Museum of Los Angeles provides the following description of the area. "The rocks in the Red Rock Canyon area reveals some of the 500 million-year history of this part of North America. Of greatest interest to the Natural History Museum paleontologists is a nearly mile-thick succession of fossiliferous rocks that geologists call the Dove Spring Formation. These deposits are composed of stream sediments, lake clays, lava flows, and volcanic ashes that were laid down layer by layer in an ancient valley that long ago disappeared. Pressure from successive overlying layers turned the sediments into stone. Pollen, leaves and wood from ancient plants, and the bones of ancient animals were trapped in these sediments and became the fossils we study today. Earthquake movement along a nearby earthquake fault subsequently elevated and tilted the entire area that was once a valley. As uplift slowly progressed, erosion continuously stripped away the hardened deposits. More resistant beds produced the cliffs and badlands that are today found in Red Rock Canyon." It was quite the fun photo-adventure. We hope you enjoy it with us.