Tuesday, April 29, 2008

death valley revisited...

Hottest...lowest...driest! That's Death Valley...and while I'm in the tour guide mode, how about I take you back there for a little visit?

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!


  1. Judy, you are a great tour guide, and for us, it's like we have had a mini tour. I did not know Death Valley was so spectacular and beautiful. Your journalism is
    amusing and entertaining. You should have a column in your local paper. Martha

  2. Thank you..tour guide job well done!

  3. Yup, you missed your calling! LOL!

    It's odd how something that barren and beige can be so beautiful. Did you hang around long enough to see the footprints fill with sand?

    How'd the sand taste? Just wondering since you mention the Borax mill.

  4. Judy...what a wonderful trip...your photos are breathtaking!!! Memories for a lifetime....thank you for sharing..I don't foresee a trip to Death Valley anytime soon :)

  5. Yesterdays valley is such a amazing contrast from todays valley pictures. T and I were looking at them this morning. They are all just so amazing. I was quite warm looking at the dessert so your photography is in fact very good.

  6. I agree, both of Judy's last tours were wonderful. I can be a "computer chair traveller"! I have to mention, I often see people mixing the words desert and dessert. (this time, Lovella) The way to remember, is that dessert, which you would rather have more of, has an extra 'S', and desert, which you usually like less of, has one 'S'. Hope that helps. Dairymary

  7. I am just amazed. I've never seen such awesome pictures of Death Valley. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Oh wow! I love places like that - so extreme and unique! Looks amazing!


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