Milky Way and the Racetrack, Death Valley NP

Milky Way and the Racetrack, Death Valley NP

I took this photo on a wonderful trip to Death Valley with a few friends. We drove up from San Diego and decided to continue on that same day to the Racetrack Playa. The racetrack is home to the mysterious sailing stones and it was something that all of us really wanted to see.

The drive to racetrack is long. While the first bit is paved, you then have to drive 26 miles on a rocky road that is notorious for flat tires. There's nothing around except a few stunted joshua trees -- if you get a flat and can't fix it, you are in a world of trouble. There's no water, shade, or cell service. We finally arrived at the Playa and then spent a few hours walking around looking for a perfect rock and found one. I marked it on my gps in my phone.

We camped, ate dinner, slept a bit and then came back out at 3AM. I pulled out my phone and brought up my gps but I couldn't find my marker! Somehow I had accidently reset it. So we tried to find the stone just by walking around. This wasn't an easy task as even with a flash light visibility is limited to maybe 20-30 feet. We wandered around for a long time and I thought we'd never find it. How embarrassing I thought, we went all the way out to the racetrack but came back with no photos.

Thankfully it's good to shoot with friends. They spotted a familiar looking trail and followed it north until they found our precious rock. The night was saved and I got my photo.