Barefoot through Badwater in Death Valley National Park
Although I lived a year-and-a-half in the park I didn’t see much while there. I took for granted having all the time in the world to explore this starkly beautiful park with golden crinkled canyons, mountains painted with colors of the rainbow, and wispy sand dunes all accented with pockets of freakish geological formations.
This very quick day trip from Las Vegas was an opportunity to appreciate what I hadn’t before. Walking barefoot over the salt flats of Badwater Basin, located 282 feet below sea level and the lowest elevation in North American, was an unplanned experience. Seeing others doing so I unlaced my shoes to add another sensory dimension to better appreciate the vast flats.
With every step over the compacted salt flats I felt a slight dampness. My feet felt almost every jagged salt grain which reminded me of fine sand. Unlike sand, it didn’t stick very much but the highly compact areas were slippery.
Walking further over the compact flats the further we were from other visitors. We noticed fresh salt crystals (read about the salt flats and crystal formation here) looking like delicate little snowflakes. Rather than the sun, I suspect foot traffic will destroy them or perhaps Mother Nature will with a little rain or wind.
There was no tiptoeing through the tulips, just a casual amble while barefoot through Badwater Basin, yet it was a new sensory experience to appreciate this park I once called home.
What’s your favorite park (national, state or county) to go barefoot?