One of the best things about desert country is that it’s really easy to find freaky looking formations like the Trona Pinnacles. These things are worth the 5+ miles of washboard gravel road it took to get close to them on Thanksgiving Day (because doesn’t everybody go exploring geological formations on Turkey Day?). This is the view from about 2 miles away so you can get a perspective on how “out there” they are, in more ways than one.
Then you get closer and realize these things are awesome! They have been the setting for several sci-fi things like Star Trek V (The Final Frontier), Lost in Space, Planet of the Apes, and Battlestar Galactica. So in homage to those otherworldly flicks, I’ve played with light and color to present the many moods of the Trona Pinnacles.
These Pinnacles are actually three groups of formations, the youngest 11,000 to 25,000 years old and the oldest 32,000 to 100,000 years old. All of them formed when the area was underwater in the Ice Age (Pleistocene) and calcium-rich groundwater and alkaline lake water combined to grow these tufa formations. Over time, the water receded and these are what is left so many lifetimes later.
So next time you find yourself in the California desert near Death Valley or Mohave, take the back road to Trona and find the Pinnacles. They are definitely worth a visit (or two!).