Death Valley National Park – Desolate Vast Neverending Panaromic views
There is beauty everywhere – this holds perfectly true when you see Death
Valley – there is beauty there in the utter and startling stillness; in the
canyons, the salt flats, the sand dunes, and the mountain peaks; in life in its
many forms in Death Valley.
Here, you can reach out to the night sky and touch the stars, get lost in
the surreal sunrises and sunsets, feast on mountains of chocolate fudge covered vanilla ice cream that does not melt in the sun, play in the largest sandbox you will ever see, and stand below sea level without a snorkel and eat some salt while there!
Water in the saltwater flats is three times saltier than sea-water. The origin of the name Badwater –the earliest prospectors who landed there thought they were lucky on seeing water, marked it as bad water on the map after taking one sip and the name stuck.
Just like the name Death Valley itself given to it by rescued 49ers who left there with a ‘Goodbye Death Valley’ when they were finally found after being stranded there for over two months with little food and water. You will also found many other landmarks of Death Valley with similar names – Furnace Creek, Dante’s View, and the Devil’s Golf Course.
Taking lessons from these early explorers, if you go prepared with enough water, food, and supplies for changing conditions, you can enjoy Death Valley to the fullest and find the paradise within. Remember to fuel up as there are very few service areas in and around the park (fuel is pricey but ..). Death Valley is the largest national park outside Alaska covering 3.3 million square miles. With lots of things to do and places to see which all
require driving and/or hiking (and many a times, preferably a 4×4), you should plan to give yourselves a couple of days or more. Sunsets and sunrises at Zabrieski point are a must (and we heard that the Mesquite sand dunes are a good place to view sunrise as well).
Places to See at Death Valley
- The salt flats at Badwater Basin – this is just amazing; miles and miles of white salt for you to see and walk on (and even have a taste, if you wish, like I did!). This is the lowest point in N.America at 282 ft below sea level. Interesting fact: the place where they have placed the sign
282 ft is not the exact spot but placed there since people want a photo op and the actual spot is sometimes not accessible. The Death Valley pupfish is found here and is unique only to Death Valley.
- Zabriskie point – beautiful, spectacular! And an easy drive (about 4 miles from Furnace Creek Ranch) with a short walk up to the viewpoint.
- Mesquite Sand dunes – tons of fun for the kids and for us too. Sliding down massive sand dunes, rolling in the sand, what is not to like?
- Artists palette drive – scenic one way drive of about 9 miles between Furnace Creek area and Badwater – you can see that the desert is multicolored and not just varied shades of browns.
- Devils Golf course – A slightly rough ride out to this golfcourse but is fascinating.
- Father Crowley Point – this is on 190 enroute to Stovepipe Walls – nice views – you can actually hear the wind whistling from this point.
- Borax Museum – a good place to visit with kids and to learn about the history of the museum, the Borax works industry and Death Valley itself. The ranger in the museum was very helpful and informative.
- Golden Canyon – easy hike and you can walk as much as time permits interesting and nice views.
What we missed and will surely see the next time:
- Racetrack – we had planned to go here this time but did not realize the sheer distances involved and that we would need a jeep/four-wheel-drive for this trip out to the Racetrack.
- Scotty’s Castle – again, sheer distances and lack of time forced us to cut
this from our trip this time but it is a must-do for next time.
- Ubehebe & Little Hebe Craters
- Titus Canyon
- Ghost towns
- Charcoal Kilns – it looks very cool
- Salt Creek trail
- Darwin Falls
- Mosaic Canyon
- Dante’s Point
- Natural Bridge
- 20 Mule Team Canyon
- Harmony Borax works – we drove past but did not stop this time around so will do it the next time.
- and more
Places to Stay at Death Valley
- Furnace Creek Ranch – we stayed here and it was a comfortable stay. The staff were helpful when we had questions. There is a wonderful warm, spring-fed pool here – not heated, note, but naturally warm
(chlorine free!) where the kids enjoyed a nice swim in the morning
- Furnace Creek Inn – this looks like it sprung out of nowhere – is one of those places you always see in movies and travel magazines! We did
not actually go in there for lack of time but was beautiful to look at from the distance. Is pricier than the ranch.
Places to eat:
- There are a few good eats in both the ranch and the inn. You could always pick up a cold sandwich and a drink at the general store for a quick eat. We ordered a four cheese pizza at the and stepped outside with it to eat at one of the quaint tables with a fireplace in the centre and were the cynosure of two busloads of hungry tourists who had just landed and stared at us for a good five minutes (awkward, I know) before one of them got the courage to ask us where we got the
- If you enter the park via Towne Pass on 190 E via the west side to Stovepipe Walls, please note that there are lots of high gradient
sections on the road (varying between 6% and 9%).
- Fuel up when you can.
- Remember to take water, food, sunscreen, hats, flashlight, and of course, a camera (and binoculars).
It is a place that is worth many visits and one of the places which makes me feel lucky I live in California.
Some other useful sites:
Other Thursday Memes
August 2020 update: All memes below (Theme Thursday, Alphabe Thursday and Theme Thursdays) are no longer active memes; for the first one – Theme Thursday – the website is no longer there; as for the other two – their host blogs are still there but no new posts for a few years now on each of them.
Theme Thursday – View – the awesome view from Zabriskie point
Alphabe Thursday – H – Harmony Borax Works
Note: All images taken by me except where noted as public domain (the image for Harmony Borax works)
Theme Thursdays at Reading Between Pages: Theme is Know
“And you want to know why! Well, sir, I can assure you that not only do
I not know why I do these things, but I did not even know I did them.”
Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) (2004-10-20). The First Men in the Moon (p. 7). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.