DEAD HOT IN DEATH VALLEY….
Trip Start Sep 06, 2009
17Trip End Ongoing
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Flush from the beautiful Alpine-like meadows in Yosemite, we enjoyed a great drive to Death Valley following the Sierra Nevada most of the way and marvelling at the vast valley vistas before us.
We stepped out of the car at the Visitors Centre on the outskirts of the park and were already knocked sideways by the increase in temperature (the car is, of course, air conditioned and we had no idea…) but we had not yet descended into the valley itself at this point and it was already fairly late in the afternoon
On the drive in we were thrilled to see some Joshua trees and were amazed by the enormous valley that opened up before us as we descended. The fact that it had once held a lake which has now almost completely disappeared gave it an eerie atmosphere.
As the more learned of you will already know, Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level and consequently the hottest place in the Western Hemisphere… We had thought it was hot on the afternoon we arrived but that was nothing to the temperatures we experienced the following day… 110oF or 44 C… We attempted a short walk into the Valley’s 'Golden Canyon’ at about 11.00 in the morning and within 15 minutes the children were puce red and wilting before our eyes… We scuttled back to the car and drank water as though we’d been in the desert for hours. It was in fact a total of 30 minutes!
We still managed to get out at The Devils Golf Course (briefly) to see the amazing salt structures there and at Badwater – the lowest point of Death Valley. The heat at this point was at it’s remorseless peak and it seemed extraordinary to find a small pool of water there – the last remnant of the once enormous body of water that had filled the valley. It’s an extraordinary place to see – but not, for us, a place to linger…
Next, we’re off for a couple of days of R&R in Vegas before hitting the Grand Canyon. (Hopefully we’ll find a dentist to fix Steve’s tooth…)