Is it really a valley of death?
Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
40Trip End Jun 04, 2013
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We pulled into the park with excitement and eagerness, along with a little fear. We decided to stay "unplugged" for the duration of our two week stay, counting on the fact that temperatures wouldn't get too hot or too cold in November and that there was always the availability of drinkable water. The first rule in the desert - have LOTS of water!! We camped in Furnance Creek, an oasis of palms and mesquite trees that offered all the creature comforts - gas station, food, laundrymat and of course, a hot spring-fed pool!
Our first day we were greeted by, and chatted to, one of several great Park Rangers
We spent a fun few hours at the famed Scotty's Castle, learning about the rich cowboy and the con man who lied to him. One man who started out as a swindler but became the dear friend of a rich investor who thought he was funding a gold mine. In the end there was no gold but a beautiful retreat in the oasis of Grapevine Canyon, complete with pool, electricity and refrigeration using hydropower from the natural springs.
During our stay we attended many Ranger Programs, on topics covering ecology, biology, geology, archeology, natural history and history of the area. Along with learning about the plants, animals and land formations, we learned about mining borax and the "twenty mule teams"
By the end of our stay we knew so much about Death Valley and have fallen in love with it's harsh beauty. With the desert life is every where, you just need to know where to look for it and when. California is blessed with such vast different terrain - we are going to check out another famous desert - Mojave National Preserve - close to Death Valley but with some fascinating differences!