Death Valley national Park has 3.4 million acres, making it the largest national park in the U.S.
At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin has the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere. Right nearby in the Panamint Range, Telescope Peak rises to 11,049 feet. It's a place of extremes...but extremely beautiful!
Our first stop on entering the park was Zabriskie Point...one of the park's most spectacular views.
Surrounded by a maze of vibrantly coloured badlands, this view is so unique that it will stay forever etched on my mind.
Photographers arrive here well before dawn every day to take in a breathtaking show as the sun creeps in, slowly washing the valley in colour. I, on the other hand, arrived here long after the sun did...after all I was on vacation!
We visited the Death Valley Museum...learned a little history and geology...
...and passed by the Harmony Borax Works mine, where the white gold of the dessert was mined and processed.
We parked beside the road at the sand dunes in the Stovepipe Wells area......and set off on a little hike.
It was about 85 degrees and windy...and was actually quite comfortable, although we ate a lot of sand!
We felt quite alone out there on the dunes...and were wondering how long it would take until the sand would fill in our footprints.
It is a magical place...unlike anything I have ever seen! The dunes rise up in tall peaks...
...and in the valleys between are the dry stream beds. It almost appears as though there has been water here at one time!
As we were returning from our hike...and grinding the sand between our teeth...we passed another hiker who was more equipped to keep the sand out of his face!
We also passed by (but not too close) this hole...which could belong either to a rattlesnake or a rat...so we were told! Apparently hiking the dunes by moonlight is a wonderful experience...but one needs to watch for the rattlesnakes.
Mosaic Canyon is our next stop...
...where the twisting lower canyon is so narrow that we need to hike single file.
Polished marble walls and odd mosaic patterns make rise up on each side..
...and after about 1/2 mile the canyon opens up to reveal the mountain peaks beyond.
As we left Mosaic Canyon, we erected a little Inukshuk to mark our visit...and then travelled west through the Panamint Range before leaving the park. We spent only one glorious day here...but it was a day we'll never forget!
If you are looking for a little peace and quiet...it's just the place for you. Here you can experience silence...dead silence (with no chance of a cell phone ringing, since there is no service). It's a great park to visit...just don't go in the summer, as it truly is the hottest place on earth!
I'm now handing in my tour guide uniform...and tomorrow it's on to something else. Have a wonderful day!