Furnace Creek, CA
On Saturday, after spending a great month in Boulder City, we headed west to visit Death Valley National Park. The park has numerous campgrounds, but only one has full hook-ups. We were able to get five nights there beginning on Sunday, so we spent Saturday night in a nearby park with no hook-ups.
On Sunday, after moving into the full service park, we drove south to visit a few nearby sights. The first stop was at what is known as the Devil’s Golf Course, an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. The spires are so serrated that “only the devil could play golf on such rough links.”
Our next stop was a short hike to visit the Natural Bridge. We drove a couple miles back a rough dirt road to get to the trailhead.
The bridge is only about a half mile up a dry wash.
The walls of the wash contain many dry waterfalls, where falling water has eroded into the side of the canyon.
Many walls of the canyon have areas covered with mud that dried as it drizzled down the side of the canyon. It is commonly known as candle drippings.
The drive back out of the Natural Bridge area gave us a great view of Death Valley in the distance.
The next stop on this tour was to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.
Death Valley is the remains of an ancient lake that was over six hundred feet deep. There are still a few small areas of water on the lake bed today and Badwater is one. The legend is that it received its name when a mule refused to drink the salty water and the owner called it bad water. The water comes from underground springs.
A ramp leads to a large area on the dry lake bed where the salt remaining from evaporation has been trampled down by visitors.
A few weeks ago, during a visit to Great Basin National Park, we parked the Jeep at a trailhead that was at 10,100 feet above sea level. We’ve know dropped a bit in elevation since then, but it really hit us when we looked at a small sign on the hills overlooking Badwater.
The sign is a bit difficult to see, so we zoomed in on it.
Our final activity for the day was a scenic ride along Artist Drive, a one way paved loop road through an area filled with colorful rock formations. The colors around us were very impressive as we drove the winding road through the rocks.
We’ll be in Death Valley for the next four days and a stop at the Visitor Center gave us information on some of the many hikes in the area, so the nimble hiker is busy planning new adventures.
More on that later . . .