Racetrack - Death Valley is full of unusual things. In my mind, Racetrack is one of the rarest and most unusual sites you'll find anywhere in the world. The whole idea of rocks, some as large as several hundred pounds, scooting around the desert when nobody is looking is more than intreaguing. The fact that they leave trails to document their travels is amusing. The intensity of this cosmic 'redlight greenlight' game is staggering as they sit, sometimes for years, waiting for the signal to send them on their way again. Where are they going? Why are they going there? Some appear to have a singular purpose, a direction, a plan. Others whimsically wander about the playa as if looking for something, or perhaps simply dancing for the joy of the open space.

Just as evening shadows were closing in I discovered a particularly long and convoluted path. At first I was content to walk along it and admire its whimsey. Soon I was amazed at how far this rock had traveled in what appeared to be a single trip. When the path was lost in a maze of crossing paths I turned around and paced off the distance to the rock - an amazing 237 yards - over 700 feet! At that point I began photographing the entire path. Here's what I came up with -

Now I'm going to get up on my soapbox and air one of my pet peaves. When you visit anyplace that belongs to the public (that means all of us), Please leave things alone. Leave them exactly as you found them. Unless you have a permit to do legitimate scientific study on the rocks, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Don't pick them up to look at them. Don't move them because you think it's funny. It's not. It's sad. Don't pick them up and take them home. They are only special because they are where they are and how they got there. Once they leave the playa they are just rocks. They aren't even pretty rocks. OK, stepping down off my soapbox now...

 


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