Survivor

Survivor

Image code: #dc000694

Shadscale plant reaching through the cracks for what little moisture and nutrients it can find in the dry desert floor, defying the odds.

Alien Tree

Alien Tree

Image code: #dn000168

Solitary cottonwood tree in autumn coat in an other-worldly landscape of desert badlands.

Aglow

Aglow

Image code: #dc001087

Sliver of morning sunlight paints a desert butte in golden hues before storm clouds close in again.

Streaming Colors

Streaming Colors

Image code: #de000970

Colorful blooms bring to life a desert alluvial fan.

Radiant Pastels

Radiant Pastels

Image code: #de000226

The faint glow of pre-dawn light brings to life the delicate pastels in a slope of clay desert badlands.

Future Fossil

Future Fossil

Image code: #de000253

A skull half-sunk in solid clay. With each rare rainfall, it will sink a little deeper and after that may never reach the surface again. Or, it may become fossilized and some day, perhaps millions of years from now, be revealed to other eyes.

First Blooms

First Blooms

Image code: #de000916

Purple scorpionweed flowers, and a single yellow bee plant, emerge from cracked desert ground after years of waiting for rain.

Badlands in Bloom

Badlands in Bloom

Image code: #de000996

Purple scorpionweed flowers in a desert wash. This phenomenon occurs only once every few years. At the time of writing, it has been nearly a full decade since the last bloom of this magnitude.

Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty

Image code: #de001035

Most other times, this area is an arid plain of cracked earth where few hardy shrubs barely survive. On rare occasions, perhaps once in a decade if not longer, when conditions are right, dormant seeds burst out in a stunning display of flowers.

Desolate Perch

Desolate Perch

Image code: #de002594

Lonesome raven surveys a surreal landscape of painted hills.

Verdant Defiance

Verdant Defiance

Image code: #de002647

Hardy shadscale plants manage to survive in an area once known by its early Mormon settlers as, The Baddest of the Badlands.

Earthly Delights

Earthly Delights

Image code: #de002644

Swaths of colorful clay, sandstone, and shale.

Desert Jigsaw Puzzle

Desert Jigsaw Puzzle

Image code: #dg000065

Cracked drying mud on desert floor. The gradation in color indicate level of moisture still remaining in each piece (they dry from the outside in). Recent raindrops dotted the clay with small impact-craters.

Blue Grit

Blue Grit

Image code: #de003169

Mineral-rich hill of textured bentonite clay.

Clay Calligraphy

Clay Calligraphy

Image code: #dg000062

Deep cracks in desert floor.

Fluted Flanks

Fluted Flanks

Image code: #de002739

Layers of ancient clay revealed in eroded cliff face.

Illuminated Ridges

Illuminated Ridges

Image code: #dh000490

Ridges of the blue hills, dusted in snow, glow in the cold light of winter.

Ancient Flow

Ancient Flow

Image code: #di000872

Eroded ancient sea bed, now arid desert badlands.

Into the Blue

Into the Blue

Image code: #di000968

Eroded slopes of blue bentonite clay, large enough to dwarf large sandstone boulders.

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb

Image code: #di001117

Clay badlands are fairly soft. Being dry almost year-round, footprints and tire tracks may leave lasting marks. The proper way to wander in these places is in the narrow washes among the hills, which are first to get smoothed out with any precipitation.

Timelines

Timelines

Image code: #di001578

Alluvial drainage patterns in clay badlands.

Evening Falls

Evening Falls

Image code: #di001572

This is the view from what used to be one of my favorite campsites, where I have never seen another person for a period of about fifteen years. Today, it is a popular spot among photographers and the solitude is gone.

Convolutions

Convolutions

Image code: #di001577

Convoluted alluvial patterns and buttes in clay badlands. Once a remote and unknown place where one could spend days in solitude, now becoming rapidly popular in the age of online sharing.

Undulations

Undulations

Image code: #di000958

Sedimented clay, once the bottom of an ancient sea, now desert badlands.

Launch Pad

Launch Pad

Image code: #di001582

The view from the edge of a sandstone shelf above a vast area of badlands.

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies

Image code: #di001614

Soft light meandering among eroded desert hills.

Dignity of Light

Dignity of Light

Image code: #di001606

Gentle light in the blue desert.

Life, Just Barely

Life, Just Barely

Image code: #di001832

An unusually cold winter day in the badlands. Very rarely visited, even in other times, it is unlikely that many people ever witnessed the cold desolation of winter in these places.

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

Image code: #di001591

Broken sandstone boulders strewn along an eroded clay slope.

Desolate Peace

Desolate Peace

Image code: #di001838

An unusually cold and foggy winter day in the badlands.

A Day of Rest

A Day of Rest

Image code: #dn000126

Desert butte glows in early morning light after an overnight snow storm.

Tumblers

Tumblers

Image code: #di001917

Large caprock boulders making their way down an eroding slope of bentonite clay.

Resting Place

Resting Place

Image code: #dn000123

Desert badlands under a blanket of fresh snow, viewed from a lofty sandstone ledge.

Winter Minuet

Winter Minuet

Image code: #dn000146

Dormant cottonwood trees engulfed in wintry fog, looking like they are swaying to music only they can hear.

Timelessness

Timelessness

Image code: #dn000277

Eroded badlands, formerly deposits from the bottom of an ancient shalow sea. I remember fondly the days before this place was “discovered” in recent years. At the time, you could camp on this ledge for days, and it was nearly inconceivable that another person would show up—a place of peace and a perfect setting for contemplation.

Winter Cascade

Winter Cascade

Image code: #dn000167

Fresh snow fills the grooves of an eroded desert slope.

Purple Pathway

Purple Pathway

Image code: #dn000512

Small shadscale shrubs persist in a small wash in mineral-rich clay hills.

Pillowy Pathways

Pillowy Pathways

Image code: #dn000520

Desert mountains covered in snow loom above a landscape of pink desert clay hills.

Gentle Erosion

Gentle Erosion

Image code: #dn000712

Sandstone boulders making their way down an eroded clay hill.

Skeletal Remains

Skeletal Remains

Image code: #dn000713

The skeletons of juniper trees remain standing, sometimes for decades after their death.

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

Image code: #dq000043

Shadscale plants emerge in an alluvial wash carved in red clay, after recent rains.

Path of Water and Light

Path of Water and Light

Image code: #e000003

First light illuminating an alluvial wash in clay badlands.