— Devil's Golf Course
The floor of Death Valley is a flat pan built up from sedimentary deposits of the soil that has washed down from the surrounding mountains. Lake Manly once filled the bottom of the valley, but dried up about 2,000 years ago. All of the salts that had been dissolved in the lake water were left on the surface of the sediments the form the valley floor. This is most apparent in the Devil's Golf Course (see photo #1, at left). The salt crystals form large clumps that are sharpened by the infrequent rains. The resulting spikes can be very sharp, and represent a real hazard to anyone who loses their balance while walking over this very rough terrain.
The Devil's Golf Course reputedly got its name because "only the devil could play golf on such rough links." We took great care while walking amongst the salt clumps. In some areas, where there was more water, we found tiny salt threads forming on the salt deposits. These would almost certainly be destroyed by rain, and we think they would not last during the extreme heat of the summer. We had been to Death Valley twice before, and never saw these little threads.