Terminal Flows

Salt Creek Fingers

From my latest article for Mountain Journal:

It’s a striking and clarifying sight to see flowing water come to an end.  A running stream slows, stalls and fades into dry ground, the water simply insufficient to carry on. Living in the Great Basin desert, one can see the phenomenon on both small and large scales.  Small desert creeks sink into sand and shrink from heat, until they are at last unable to cross even one more mud crack. Springs generate pools, greenery and wildlife habitat near their sources, but then transition through boggy mud, sheets of brine, damp ooze and finally dry powder as their waters evaporate on the valley floor….
….In most regions, drainages and hydrologic systems are too large and complex to take in at a glance, but here in the deepest umbra of the western rain shadow one can can stand at the literal end of a stream, see and remember: This much is all we have.

Read the whole thing! Two more previously unreleased images are included.

Full disclosure: In the image above, I digitally removed a sizable dead bush from the stream bank. Moving it physically would have left an unsightly mark, both on the ground and in my photo, so I opted to take care of it in post-processing instead.

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