After the beautiful Yosemite we headed South East to Death Valley. It’s incredible the difference between the two; Yosemite was lush and green, while Death Valley was hot and dry. It was very hot!
As you can see in this picture of me outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Centre which provided some very welcome air conditioning alongside the reasonably interesting displays.
It actually got to 102 F/39 C on the second day.
The scenery was spectacular and we basically drove through the park following the main road. I can’t imagine it would be possible to explore the park without a car; it’s huge at 13,500 km sq and there aren’t any buses although companies probably run daytrips. And the heat meant I really didn’t want to be out of the car for more than a few minutes, but there aren’t really any walks anyway all the sights seemed near to the road and had parking spots.
We started at Mustard Canyon where we got some food and browsed the little shop (I wanted sweets!). Then we set off again on the main road to the sand dunes where I managed to lose the lens from my camera.
Day Two was all about salt! We started with Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in North America at 282 ft below sea level. The white section in the middle is salt, I don’t fully understand where that comes from but I believe it is pushed to the surface of the soil by small amounts of water repeatedly freezing and evaporating. There definitely wasn’t any water on the ground when we were there and after a few minutes looking at the salt, and a trip to the toilet block (one of the few in the park), we climbed back into the hot sweaty car. You are advise when entering the park to turn off your aircon to avoid overheating the engine so the breeze from the windows as we drove was the only cool air we felt.
We also went to the ‘Devil’s Golf-course’ which is another build up of salt but in such large, hard chunks that it resembles a gold-course that only the devil would play on. I think Death Valley was incredible and unique and I’m glad I went there.