In the searing heat, the sun glares down on the barren valley while fiercely scorching winds roar through the bowl-shaped desert floor. I’m in Death Valley National Park, California in the United States, attempting to gingerly make my way on an unpaved track towards what they call the Devil’s Golf Course. The scrub gives way to lumpy domes of black and white covering acres of the valley. The uneven terrain is made up of one common place table item: salt and tons of it. Here, the evaporated salt beds of an ancient lake dig deep into the earth’s crust and their exposed tips have weathered over centuries into a multitude of unusual salt crystal formations. Looking down upon this landscape, the salt and hardened mud look like a breakfast of lumpy oatmeal. I’m not sure even the devil would want to play golf on this sort of terrain. I make my way gingerly into the salt spired field, carefully avoiding the sharp edges of the delicately laced salt crusts. Golf might not be an option on the Devil’s Golf Course, but maneuvering around this terrain reminds me of childhood hopscotch games. For a moment the heavy wind dies down and the valley is eerily silent. I bend down close to a jagged pinnacle and hear a quiet pop, then another. A few minutes later two more metallic pings follow. This is the sound of the salt crystals expanding and bursting in the summer heat. I am awed not only by the looks of this place, but by the strangeness of the science behind it. My head this close to the salt domes, Devil’s Golf Course changes from an oatmeal dish into a miniature landscape of mountain peaks, deep canyons, and wide plateaus of black rock covered in an ethereal wash of white snow. A change in my perspective transforms this harsh and bizarre land into a world of unsettling beauty.