Our second day in Death Valley, we got up at 8AM. Not because we had so much to do, but because we wanted to get a hike in at the Badwater Basin before the temperature rose above 100. Neither OL nor I are morning people. We ate junk food and hit the road. Badwater Basin is gorgeous. Death Valley is my favorite national park because most things are easy to get to and the information is clear. Oh and the maps are free. Nice perk. Anyway, we hike Badwater Basin a bit. OL is underwhelmed and I am overheated. We return to car and drive tried for the Natural Bridge but the temp was already at 103. We quickly returned to car and went to the Devil’s Golf Course. It’s pretty awesome. OL and I pondered why the devil has a golf course and cornfields in Death Valley.
We stopped in at Golden Canyon when the temperature was 105. It was a light golden color because it was AM and not PM, but we didn’t want to be there in the PM when temperatures hit 122.
We drove to Dante’s View. Jawdropping views. Spectacular. And a cool 91 degrees due to the high elevation. We drove to Zabriskie Point which is an uphill hike. It was 110. I told OL you do it, I’ll read about it and stayed in the car with the A/C. He took great pics, but it was really really hot out there. We stopped in at Furnace Creek Ranch’s 49er Cafe for lunch again. Then we drove onward to the Devil’s Cornfield and the Mesquite Sand Dunes. It was about 117 by then. OL loves sand dunes and hiked out in them. I walked out and yelled take my picture I’m going back to the car. It was intense heat. We drove on to Stove Pipe Wells Village and OL again hiked in 120 degree heat while I sat in the car and read about Mosaic Canyon.
We then went in search of the unlabeled side road that leads to the historic stove pipe well where a stove pipe was stuck in the well to mark it for travelers as it was the only water source in the area. Then we headed back to the room for a little R&R from the heat. Then onto dinner at the 49er cafe again.
Our last day, we did Scotty’s Castle and Ubehebe Crater. Both are definite to-dos in Death Valley. Honestly most sites are easily accessible (excluding the racetrack and the eureka dunes). The visitor centers have maps and info. There are park restrooms throughout the park. The roads are relatively straight and easy to drive. All and all a very pleasant park experience. I will definitely go back again.
Stay tuned for my reasons not to visit Yosemite, but to stay in Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes.