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At first the day seemed disappointing. We had driven all the way from Austin, Texas to Death Valley and then over 27 miles of rugged gravel washboard road to see what had happened since last Spring's tracks of the sliding rocks on the desert playa lake bed. What did we find? An El Niño winter lake in the basin! Almost half and especially the southern end of the playa where the sliding rocks are found below the dolomite finger ridge was covered in water. We could barely see any tracks at all.
The Racetrack Playa, looking south from the northern end of the dry playa lake bed, past the 'Grandstand' outcrop of volcanic rocks in the northern middle of the lake toward the relatively low dolomite buttress on the right. A faint bluish-white line in the left center of the image depicts the water on the playa at the time.