Our regular, three-day Death Valley blitz for our BYU senior geomorphology class fell victim to the government Shutstorm, so we had to make some contingency plans. I'd been considering the Mojave anyway, and then when I heard some people from JPL would be out at Pisgah lava flow field, cinder cone and lava tubes with robots, I thought we should still make that our first stop. Many thanks to Karl Mitchell, Mike Malaska, Chuck See, and three other colleagues for taking time out to talk with us about the volcano, their work, and JPL. Since it was a long drive, we arrived near sunset and after the JPL-ers left, we drove around the volcano to our remote campsite. The next morning, we wriggled through Glove Cave and saw some nice lava tube flow textures. From there we headed back through Baker and up to Dante's View to get an overview of Death Valley. We arrived at Stovepipe Wells campsite close to dinner time, so we made our fajitas and then most students headed out for a wander across the Mesquite dunes under a full moon. We made our way back out there again the next morning, all converging on the high dune in the center. Then we headed down to Devil's Golfcourse and Badwater for discussions on all things low and evaporitic, as well as the high surrounding mountains and the voluminous fans in the middle ground, and then we departed back out Furnace Creek, since the southern road was closed below Badwater. Though the nighttime temps were low, spirits were high, and we saw a lot of beautiful landforms.
All pictures are below: