The first things that come to mind when I think of Death Valley is hot, desert, no shade, snakes and scorpions. While it is true that Death Valley has all of those things, it is so much more than a collection of lizards and overheated sediments. It’s beautiful and full of all kinds of life.
When we first rolled into the National Park I was amazed at the amount of brush and bushes. Although it may have been due to insane amount of rain the park had in the spring.
Water in Badwater Basin at an elevation of -282 feet (-86 meters)
The lower we went in elevation the higher the temperature climbed. Somewhere around Badwater Basin (the lowest elevation on the North American continent) it was well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, eep!
Just over the next hill, we were greeted with a green stain on the landscape. Somewhere in the middle of the green stain was our campground complete with running water and real toilets. Unfortunately for us, there were no showers.
Zabriskie Point Badlands
The second night, we were told that the “resort” next door had a pool and showers. Eight of us shelled out five bucks to get into the pool, only to discover that we only needed one card and wasted $35 as a group. Oops.
During the days we would visit various geology sites and tourist areas. During the evenings we would hang out at the campground listening to the Dean of my college perform geologic parodies to famous songs. One of the best things about camping is the fire (we didn’t have one on this trip, it was too hot!), the stories, and the songs!
Sliding Rock at Racetrack Playa
Death Valley was full of rocks, sand, more rocks, and a super bloom of flowers. If you keep your eyes open, there is life everywhere and the dry valley is not as dead as the name implies.
Each night, the coyotes would howl close by, one night, we even stumbled across one while walking back from the pool.
Birds filled the skies in the more touristy areas where buildings and trees graced the landscape. We came across caterpillars, pup fish, lizards and even a scorpion.
The night sky in Death Valley is incredible. As amazing as this sounds, you can see the lights from Las Vegas off on the horizon. I got a couple good shots, but I really wanted to get one of those Milky Way shots. Can you believe that the night I was planning on attempting it it was cloudy?
The clouds was no big deal, we still had one more night. The last night was cloudy too. Off in the distance, the water poured from the sky. All of a sudden, the wind picked up. It was like we were sitting in a sand blaster when the storm came.
We survived and it was an incredible experience looking back it.
Have you ever been to Death Valley? Did you experience an earthquake? A sandstorm?