Friday, June 09, 2017

Death Valley

We left Las Vegas this morning and headed to Death Valley. What a bizarrely beautiful and sort of mildly terrifying place! It was 102° when we arrived around 10:00 am, and they were predicting a high of 109°, which is pretty mild compared to the 132° this spot often sees at the height of summer. The wind was blowing, which made it tolerable, but almost the instant we stepped out of the vehicle, we felt our lips chap and our throats parch. Our first stop was Zabriskie Point, where we had sweeping  vistas of the Badwater Basin salt flats and the surrounding mountains. The Basin, which is the lowest point in North America, was our next stop. From a distance, the land appears to be covered with snow, which seems to make sense as you take in the gorgeous mountains all around, until you look at the outside temperature. It's a funny mind trick of Nature. After leaving the basin, Jeff and I took a short hike to see a natural bridge, while the kids, weary of the heat, waited in the RV. Then, we drove by Artist's Pallette, along Artist's Drive. It was amazing to see all the colors in the hills! Later, we popped into the visitor's center and then drove by the sand dunes on our way out of the park. It was a surreal place. We are so glad we visited but don't feel like it's a place we need to return to in the future. I do kind of feel that if we were ever to travel to some uninhabitable planet, we might find a landscape similar to this one.

Barren but beautiful

Zabriskie Point

Badwater Basin--282 feet below sea level

The salt flats

Natural Bridge

Artist's Pallette

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

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