Friday, May 4 – We got an early start this morning, heading out to Death Valley shortly after 7 a.m. We had about an hour drive, just to get to the park. Being a National Park, we were able to use Paul's Golden Age Pass to enter the park free.
Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States. It comprises nearly 3.4 million acres. It is about 100 miles long and averages nearly 20 miles wide. It can have some extremely HOT temperatures, but we were very fortunate today with temperatures in the low 80's. It was actually very pleasant.
Being such a large park, makes seeing everything difficult. To travel from one sight to another takes time (about a half hour), and the drives can be tiring. It is also, a long way from Pahrump – about an hour on the south end and over 2-hours at Scotty's Castle on the north end of the park. We planned on spending 2-days touring the park, but had seen most of it shortly after noon, so we decided to “bite the bullet” and finish it up in one day. That would save us more than 4-hours driving and quite a few gallons of gasoline.
Our first stop was Dante's View. A very popular viewing point, Dante's View is more than 5000 feet above the valley floor. From the top, you can see most of the 110-mile long Valley. With a short hike from the viewing area, you can spot the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States.
The white salt flats far below is Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level. Across the canyon is Telescope Peak, towering 11,049 feet above the basin floor. Just west off Telescope Peak is Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 at 14,491 feet.
Right before we left, we spotted this guy. It has been years since we saw anyone taking photos like this. Paul went up to talk to him about the camera, but he just smiled and shook his head. We think he…No speaky the English.
Zabriskie Point (the Badlands of Death Valley) was our next lookout. A popular area for viewing sunrises and sunsets. We enjoyed a panoramic view of golden-brown mudstone hills riddled with rills and gullies.
A short ride down a bumpy gravel road is Devil's Golf Course.
A vast evaporating dish covering more than 200 square miles. It is crusted over with a variety of salts.
Paul gave it the taste test....yep it's salty!
This is just our first three stops in Death Valley. We will continue the tour in our next blog.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon.