Eureka Dunes, Death Valley

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By Jonathan H

Eureka Valley Dunes
Eureka Valley Dunes, Death Valley National Park

Eureka Valley Sand DunesMy first experience at the Eureka Dunes was with a Geography field course in college. We learned the basics of the barchan dune, crescent dune, transverse dune… But what I remember most about it was its music.

These sand dunes literally sing. The cacaphonic wave resembles a far away didgeridoo. You initiate the sound by stepping on a steep incline of sand, high up on the crest where the sand is at its angle of repose. As the sand avalanches down, the friction from the moisture and the tiny bits of silica colliding emit a beautiful, mesmerizing tune.

That day, when we reached the top, we were surprised to see other people. Not only was it a shock to find people in the desert, but they were completely without clothes. Soon enough, after our newfound dune companions intimated that it’s the best way to tumble down, we all followed the lead.

Years later, I took a girlfriend to Eureka. We walked to the desolate foothills and took note of the sparse environment around us. She jumped around on the dune and I snapped a few photos of her enjoying the place. I will never forget that day. Young love and dunes always leave an indelible imprint in your mind.

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