The lowest point in the USA

Trip Start May 11, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, April 3, 2008

    Death Valley is a sweet day trip from Vegas.  Basically its going from one desert to another.  Death Valley, however, is way more extreme and considerably hotter...... hence the name.   Originally we were going to camp there but upon review of the temperatures and sites we thought it better to make a day trip out of it.   This National Park is only a couple hours away and takes almost as long to drive through as it take to drive to!  The place is massive! The floor of Death Valley encompasses the lowest point on the North American continent at Badwater Basin which sits at 282 feet (86 metres) below sea level.  From this location we could see Telescope Peak which towers more than 11,300 feet above the Death Valley floor.  We drove to Dante's Peak which gives birds eye view of Badwater and other parts of the park.  Which means we could see both the lowest point in the northern hemisphere, and the highest point in the US contiguous 48 (Mt. Whitney )in the Sierra Nevada's some 150 miles to the west.
      We spent the remaining time checking out the park's random sites of which I can't really remember the specific details. (Chelise here - it's called the Devil's Golfcourse & here's some info: The saltpan at Badwater periodically floods & dries which smooths it out. Devil's Golf Course is different because it's several feet above flood level - so no smoothing. What you'll see is pinnacles of salt crystals that form when salty water comes up from the mud underneath which then evaporates.  The pinnacles grow very slowly maybe an inch in 35 years. Wind and rain continually erode and sculpt these pinnacles into an amazing array of shapes. )  But the salt flats were a pretty bizarre site as you can tell from the pictures.
     Here's some fun facts that I copied down.....Death Valley is dry. I know it's obvious, but it's important to know. Death Valley is dry and it is exceptionally good at making other things dry too. Open a loaf of bread, and then forget to seal it back up within 15 minutes. You know what you get? A loaf of crackers, that's what you get!  One more fun fact is.......some park staff and service personnel living at Cow Creek just north of Furnace Creek on the floor of Death Valley make an unusual adaptation during the summer months. The plumbing that supplies water to Cow Creek residents from the source spring a few miles away is buried just a few inches below the dusty ground surface for much of this distance.  In the summer months, the sun heats the water along its journey to near scalding temperatures. In order for residents to have nearly-cool water on hand at their facets in the summer, they turn off their water heaters and store unheated water in the insulated tank. Gradually this water cools to reasonable levels of tepidness.
Thusly, during the blazing days of summer, cool water is delivered to Cow Creek residents from their Hot water taps, and hot water is dispensed from the cold taps.  Now check out the pictures!
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