Our first stop on our first morning in Death Valley was Badwater. Just like the sign says, it's 282 feet below sea level. There's not much water there--this pool was right at the beginning of the walkway. Some rare fish are supposed to make their home in the pool, but we didn't see them. The water is murky-looking, definitely what you might call "bad," at least for people.
We were lucky with the weather--a storm was moving in, and the cloud cover kept temperatures in the 70s. So, ironically, it wasn't hot. Lots of people etch messages into the saltpan. Most are hearts with initials, but we thought this one captured the spirit of the place.
On either side of the long walking area with the etched-in graffiti, Badwater pretty much looks like this. Some adventurous souls wander off into these parts, but we were happy to stay put and take pictures.
The walking's even tougher at Devil's Golf Course, which we elected to view and photograph from the parking area. These mounds of crystallized salts are shaped by wind and rain, and salts are still being deposited by occasional floods. This saltpan has been here since ancient times, and the entire landscape has an ancient feel.