Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Death Valley Days, Part One

Morning dawned cool and clear.  (Vol Fan tried to wake me to enjoy the sunrise but that wasn't happening.  I would dearly love to watch the sunrise if only it happened several hours later in the day!)  The unstaked tent remained intact even after some gusty winds during the night.  After a quick breakfast, we were off to explore the park.

Death Valley is a land of extremes - hottest, lowest, driest.  And at first glance, it can seem like there is not much to see.  Yes, worth a drive through to visit the lowest point in the United States.  To see just how hot it is.  But not much else.  And it is so vast that it can be overwhelming.

But there is beauty.  It is subtle, muted as if it takes too much energy to be vibrant.  Browns in every shade imaginable that morph into pink.  Occasionally a splash of green or purple.  You always hear people say 'the photograph doesn't do it justice' when talking about The Grand Canyon.  Or Yellowstone.  The same applies here.  I didn't take a single photograph that captured the beauty that my eyes saw.

Our first stop was Mesquite Flat Dunes.  Thankfully, it was early in the morning so the shadowing on the dunes was beautiful!
Next up Badwater Basin.  Elevation -282'.  Lowest point in the United States.  Badwater Basin is just that - a basin with bad water.  There is a small spring-fed pool of water.  The water is polluted by the rains in the surrounding mountains that drain to this point.  As the water evaporates, it leaves behind its salt content.  Thus making the water bad.

Eons of rains evaporating have left an area covered in salt.  A walk onto the salt flats of the area is quite an experience.
Next we headed to Beatty, Nevada to refuel - both the truck and our bodies.  Thankfully, diesel was much more reasonably priced!  The guy at the gas station directed us to Rita's Cafe for lunch.  Five star dining, it was not.  But it was good.  And reasonably priced.  And it was in a casino where Vol Fan played $5 in the slots and won $200!!  All in all, a good stop:)

And then it was back to the desert to look for ghosts......


Busy Bee Suz said...

This area does look interesting....and hot.
Vol Fan is lucky!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

You guys rock Woody. Tell VolFan I'll take that horseshoe when he's done with it!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

That $200 will help pay for some of the diesel... ha

That is so interesting... How did it feel to walk on that salt????? And to be at such a low elevation... What was the temp there???

Glad to hear that your tent kept standing... Did you buy some stakes??? WELL--maybe there's nowhere around there to do that... ha

Keep these great blogs coming. I love 'em.

Lori said...

Woot! Woot! Winning $200!!! Cool! Very beautiful pictures...I can only imagine how much more so in person. How hot was it?

Desert Survivor said...

I love Death Valley! You are so lucky to get to visit!