Travel Notebook: Ubehebe Peak

Ubehebe Peak, Death Valley National Park

Mountains and valleys
Swoop
Flat playa on th ewindward side of Ubehebe
Swoop
The Grandstand needles out of the plane of the playa
Swoop
(What are these swooping birds? They arc around from down-ridge, gliding quickly over the slope down to the playa. Racing around, aiming for the peak ridge, they swoop across at breakneck speed or catch the updraft and loop back outward. Very fast and with an air-slicing swoop. SWOOP)

Ubehebe Peak itself is a razor-edged break between Racetrack Valley and Saline Valley. To the east, rocks "race" over the Racetrack below the spectator boulders on The Grandstand. To the west, Saline Valley stretches beyond my capacity to estimate distance. Perhaps I see the valley floor stretch northwest for 30 miles. As the valley floor rises to become the Saline Range, the distance extends further.

The Inyo Mountains slope hard over the Saline Valley. Even the Sierra Nevada peaks peek briefly over the top of this range, perhaps even Mt. Whitney.

The bliss of seeing further than you could before the ascent -- the essence of reaching the summit.

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