Friday, October 05, 2007

Death Valley, CA

On Friday, 10-5, we decided to visit Death Valley National Park. The wind was slowing down, and we wanted to visit the park before we left Pahrump. Death Valley is about an 11/2 hour drive from the resort. We headed for Furnace Creek and the visitor center to orient ourselves and decide on a plan for our visit. It was a bright & sunny day, but the wind was still blowing hard.

John wanted to have lunch at the Furnace Creek Inn, but it wasn't possible. The Inn was still closed for the summer, and wouldn't open until 10-16. It looked nice, thought. After the visitor center, we stopped at Furnace Creek Ranch store for some snacks. When we came out of the store, the weather had turned into an overcast day. After further investigation, we determined that it wasn't clouds, but blowing sand in the sky! We changed our plans and headed south towards Badwater to avoid the sandstorm. As you can see by this picture, we're trying to outrun the storm.

Looking behind us, it's a great cloud of gray sand. This is the view back toward Furnace Creek.

We did have time to stop at the Devil's Golf Course. It's an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind & rain into jagged spires and crusty rounds. It got it's name because"only the devil could play golf on such rough links".

Further south, we stopped at Badwater, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. It's a surreal landscape of vast salt flats, and a small pond of water that comes up from a spring. It got it's name from a prospector who tried to get his mule to drink, but the mule refused, thus the name Badwater. However the water is fine, it's just very salty. In fact some plant live there in the winter and there's an endangered snail in the springs.

Way up on the cliff is a picture of where sea level is. It's a long way up. The air felt heavier here, and I understand that golf balls don't fly very far at the Furnace Creek golf course. Our campground is at 2700' altitude, and we passed over a 3200' pass to get to this spot, all in about 60 miles.
We were sorry our visit was cut short by the wind, but maybe we'll be back someday. After UT, and now NV, we're a little tired of the desert. We miss the green of the Northwest. If you want to see more pictures, please click on the link:
Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

Jeni said...

Wow, very interesting! No wonder it's called Death Valley and that's even without the heat! That windstorm is crazy!