The name Death Valley doesn’t sound very inviting as a place to go, but it very beautiful and interesting. As you can see in the picture above, the rocks are formed as if they were placed like a blanket over the landscape.
We started our day at Death Valley by going to Dante’s Peak. It is 5476 feet above sea level. We traveled the long twisty road up the mountain. The higher we got the more the anticipation built. We tried to explain to our friends Mike and Corky Eden what they would see, but of course explaining nature is impossible.
Dante’s Peak is not the highest point in the park. That honor belongs to Telescope Peak at 11, 049 feet. Standing at the top of Dante’s Peak, it seems as if I see forever.
Zabriskie Point was awesome. It seems as if each rock structure is placed by the hands of the maker. Before it was a tourist attraction, it was a borax mining operation. In the early 1920’s, the Pacific Coast Mining Company mined borax in what is now Death Valley National Park. The 20 mule team wagons hauled borax from the desert for only six years, but their legend will live forever.
In 1927 the Pacific Coast Mining Company diversified and opened the Furnace Creek Inn which was more profitable than mining borax. In 1933, Death Valley became a National Monument and in 1994 it became a National Park.
Steve has a wonderful sense of humor. When he found a screw emerging from the ground and pointed to it saying it was Zabriskie Point, we had to document his find even though we all knew it wasn’t the real thing.
Artist Drive is a nine mile one way drive through some of the most amazing beauty one could ever hope for. Additionally, the road winds around the rocks and goes up and down to provide an epic thrill ride.
Artists Palette is a turnout off Artist Drive. The picture above does not give justice to the beautiful colors that make up the Artists Palette. Being in the canyon is a so relaxing and life giving. No cell service. No outside influence. Just me and nature. Awesome!
It was nearly 4PM when we stopped at Golden Canyon. See how tiny my friend Corky is against the giant boulders at the entrance to the canyon.
I went further inside to have a peak at what was around the corner. I highly recommend that you go earlier in the day – before the shadows come and change everything. Shadows add faces to the rock structures and the faces are not always happy, welcoming faces. Yes, my next visit will be in bright sunlight with my husband at my side.
After a full day of adventure, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center which we should have stopped at the beginning of the day. They have a raised relief map, or interactive map, of Death Valley showing the location of areas of interest. Names of places and buttons are around the outside of the map. Press a button and a light turns on at the location on the map. Interestingly, all our adventure was confined to a very small section of the park. Next time we will explore another area, after we consult the map at the Visitor’s center.
It was so interesting to see how each location tied into each other and how close they were to each other. Steve and I have a paper copy of the map and will be doing a lot more study of what we want to see before our next visit.
Sadly, we were not able to visit Scotty’s Castle. On October 18, 2015, a flood 100 feet wide with 20 foot waves devastated Scotty’s Castle. It won’t reopen until 2019.
A visit to Death Valley is a wonderful adventure. You can make it even better by visiting the Furnace Creek Visitor Center first.
Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try
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