Friday, October 8, 2010

A Day in Death Valley

Roger here....   We are currently staying at the Boulder Creek RV Resort, just outside of Lone Pine, California - a pretty nice place.  Lone Pine sits in the shadows of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48 (14,497 feet).  Just fifty miles away, as the crow flies, or 104 miles of twisty up-and-down roads, as the Toyota drives, lies the lowest point in North America in Death Valley National Park  (minus 282 feet).
Dianne informed me that I was not to drive the car off the side of a cliff, so it took us about two hours to arrive at the furthest point of our over-and-back drive, knowing that we would make all our stops on the return trip.  We stopped 17 miles south of the Furnace Creek 

Visitor Center, just past the lush-looking Furnace Creek Resort.   The first stop - Badwater Basin - the lowest point in North America.  Dianne (posing by a saline pond) and I joined many others on a mile-and-a-half walk into the white, concrete-like bottom of the continent.  It was 120 degrees here ten days ago.  Today it only reached 90 degrees.  What luck!  

Next stop....  The Natural Bridge Trail.  Never mind.  The-mile-and- a-half gravel road to the trail head was so rough, that in order to save the suspension and tires on the Toyota, we turned around after a couple hundred yards.

The next stop was not really a stop.  It was an amazing, one-way, PAVED drive through an area called the Artists' Palette.  The rock formations along the side of the road seemed to intrude into the roadway.  They didn't, of course, but the illusion made the drive seem like an amusement park ride.  Side note... at one point six identical yellow corvettes sped by us while we were parked at a pull-out.  Don't know what that was about, but it made me smile.
The rock colors along the way were like none I have ever seen in a natural setting.  Amazingly, blues, greens, pinks, yellows, black, white, brown and purples all meshed into the barren hills - like the colors of an artist's palette.

The big hike of the day took place at Golden Canyon.  Just beyond the parking area (that was located on a paved road),  armed with hats and plenty of water, we walked into a narrow canyon.  The multi-colored walls rose vertically from the canyon floor.  Many of the walls demonstrated layers of rock were slanting at impossible angles.

I found a rock to climb on.  It was not hard to find one.  It made me happy.
We walked in the canyon for about an hour, and then we moved on.  

Our next stop was the Mesquite Dunes area.  So much fun to climb and descend these giant sand dunes.  Dianne and I love the beach.  Technically, this was not the beach, because there was definitely no water, but the sand sure made it seem so.  
Since I got to climb a rock,  Dianne got to make a snow (sand) angel.  So childish!  She can be embarrassing at times.

Time for the two-hour drive back to the motor home and our menagerie.  We will be dry-camping (camping without electricity and water) at a Forest Service Campground directly beneath Mt. Whitney for the next three days, so we won't be posting for a few days.  When we do, we will let you know about the small, but famous (if you have ever watched a western movie or TV show) town of Lone Pine.  

Read on, because Dianne published a very short blog about our Arizona to California trek, including the agricultural inspection station that confiscated our apples!

In keeping with the desert theme, we have entitled today's Whippet of the Day picture, "Chaplin of Arabia."  He does love his (actually my) blanket.

1 comment:

Margie and Roger said...

Really interesting photos in this post. Loved those colored rocks. Sort of like the Badlands with more color.