A sandy walk up the Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park

For my non-Twitter readers (wait, seriously, you don’t have a Twitter?), #FriFotos is a weekly themed collaborative hashtag where travelers contribute their best and favorite photos. This week’s theme is ‘sand,’ and while I’ve got thousands of pictures from the sandy beaches of my homestate, Florida, I thought it would be more exciting to share my brief recent experience at Death Valley National Park.

Niko and I made a short visit to Death Valley National Park on our way out of California. After weeks of San Francisco diners, mountain cabin retreats in Willits, and meeting the largest trees on earth at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, we jetted off towards Las Vegas for an evening of luxury – if you can count the Excalibur as luxurious. Niko had never been this far west before, so it was a treat to shuttle him around California, spewing out factoids and acting like I was a seasoned west coast traveler.

We stopped by the first ranger station to ‘register’ our car using my annual National Parks pass, and picked up a map to scope out what natural attractions we could stop by on our way towards Las Vegas. The only thing that wasn’t miles out of the way were the Mesquite Dune Flats, so we navigated our way through the desert towards them.

You really can’t miss ’em.


Niko will be proud to hear me finally admit that I was a total brat during our visit to the dunes. Hot, bothered, and suffering from a desperate case of the munchies, I was a huge downer while Niko happily tromped through the sand. He pleaded with me to take a picture standing in the dunes (the top photo), and I was a major wench about it, miserably dragging my sandaled feet across the piping hot sand and faking a smile – but hey, it turned out pretty well in the end.

While I was wallowing in a pity-party about my lack of snacks, Niko ignored my blues and went for a little romp in the dunes. It was undeniably anti-climactic, but he insisted on jumping off one of the dunes into the sand. His failed attempt at an epic moment definitely quelled my negativity a bit – even though he inevitably tracked heaps of sand into the car afterwards.

Next time we head through the west, I’d like to spend much more time exploring Death Valley National Park. During my first visit to Death Valley, I was driving across the country with my entire family after a year of living in San Jose, California. The hottest temperature we recorded was a sweltering 123 degrees, and naturally, our van’s air-conditioning died in the middle of the desert. Literally everything we owned melted, from my mother’s red lipstick to my stick of deodorant. It was an adventure to remember, and one I’d totally love to relive.

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Categories: Road Trip 2011, Travel & Adventure

Author:Katie Boué

Katie Boué is the voice of TheMorningFresh.com - a travel lifestyle blog focusing on climbing, Airbnb life, and the outdoors.

5 Comments on “A sandy walk up the Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park”

  1. February 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    you were whining because you had no snack while in the desert? ha ha ha. Spend a day or two and unwind

    • February 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

      Unwind indeed, that’s where we were heading! As ‘unwinding’ as Vegas can be. :)

  2. February 12, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I didn’t see this part of Death Valley when I went two years ago. But I also went in March and it was about 80 degrees when I was there. Not a place I’d want to go in the summer! Next time I go I’ll have to stop by the Mesquite Flat Dunes!

    • February 12, 2012 at 11:53 am #

      I hadn’t seen the dunes during my first trip to Death Valley either – but then again, it was 10 years ago. The dunes were really a treat to visit, but I definitely wish I had brought a Nalgene full of water with me!

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