From this stop you can walk out onto the playa (how far depends on the amount of water). This area is very salty and, as you walk, you encounter clumps of salt. The young ranger taking a group out onto the playa explained how seismic activity has moved the mountains apart letting earth fall in between creating the ranges and basins. The water that the mule wouldn’t drink was not actually “bad” as in poisonous. It was just too salty.
The fellow “wading” was in water less deep than the soles of his boots.
On the mountains above the visitor’s center was this sign indicating sea level. Wow, and I am not even wearing my scuba gear! As I understand it, this area and others like it are still sinking slowly so in a few thousand years I guess they will have to revise the signage.