S: Death Valley Trip 2011
FC: Death Valley Trip April 2011
1: Entering Death Valley From the South
2: The natural BEAUTY of Death Valley was unexpected.
4: Natural Bridge
8: Devil's Golf Course
9: We spent the day hiking in the rain in the driest place in North America!
10: We entered Death Valley National Park at the lightly traveled south entrance west of Shoshone. This was a scenic, colorful route that soon took us to the bright white salt flats of Badwater Basin. We stopped at the Badwater Basin parking area to walk the salt flats. The wind was too strong to wear a hat and it nearly pushed people across the flats as they tried to walk. High on the hill behind us was a sign indicating sea level. At this location, we were standing 280 feet below sea level. We continued to our destination for the day at Beatty, Nevada. | Just west of Beatty is Rhyolite, one of many short-lived thriving towns of the early 1900's. It is an interesting ghost town to visit as many of the ruins are still standing as well as a house built out of whiskey bottles. The next morning the wind had died down, giving us the opportunity to explore Death Valley a little more in depth. Our first stop was at Natural Bridge. It was a fairly easy mile hike up a narrow canyon to walk under a bridge formed by rushing flash flood waters cutting through the soft rock over the milleniums. Along the hike it was interesting to see the various mud formations formed by rainwater flowing down the canyon walls.
11: The next stop was at the Devil's Golf Course which is part of Badwater Basin. Chunks of salt heaved up created an interesting, expansive landscape. Golden Canyon, a short drive from Devil's Golf Course, is a short scenic hike through another narrow canyon which surrounded us by the brightly colored walls of the canyon. Several tributary canyons can be explored along the trail through the main canyon. After driving past the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, near Stovepipe Wells, our next hike was in Mosaic Canyon, another colorful hike through another narrow canyon that had marble highlights. | This day in Death Valley brought us cool weather (50's) and the only rain we encountered on our trip - rather ironic for being in the hottest and driest place in North America! However, we were pleasantly surprised how colorful Death Valley really was, and appreciative that it was cool enough to enjoy the hikes. The climb west out of Death Valley took us over two steep and curvy mountain passes. We stopped at Father Crowley Point for one last hike before leaving the park. With an overlook of the Panamint Valley to the east, and Rainbow Canyon just north of the parking area, this was a great way to end our Death Valley experience.
13: From the beauty of Artist Drive to the wonderment of Natural Bridge and the surrounding canyon.
15: Golden Canyon
16: Mosaic Canyon
17: Golden Canyon Formations
19: Even the hottest place in North America gets snow