Monday, 14 November 2016

Road Trip Part 7; Death Valley National Park

 Our trip to Death Valley began as every trip to the area should - with a visit to the Area 51 Alien Research Center. Don't get your hopes up - it's a petrol station, with a weird gift shop. And. Um. A brothel. Really. I was the first one to notice the sign highlighting this and as we entered the station we were all extremely worried that we were going to literally walk right into a brothel, but don't worry if you end up here, that's actually around the back and you can avoid it entirely if you wish!

 You can buy odd Area 51 goodies, get your picture taken with the aliens, and if you go next door you can buy fireworks which you can let off in the same area. Nevada is weird.

Our trip to Death Valley did not begin entirely as planned, as somehow we missed the entrance that we actually wanted and drove for miles and miles to go in somewhere in the side, completely screwing up our plan and our order for the day. It also meant that the car was very angry with us as the SatNav decided that the best route to go was to take us down a road that suddenly went off road and drove us down a scary bumpy road where all the signs had bullet holes in them. Well done, SatNav.

 Here's the bit that I was the most interested in - the sand dunes. I was really excited to go and see them, and they entertained me as much as I thought they would. Sadly, photos just don't really capture them all that well or show you just how high they get or how many there are, but I really enjoyed taking a look at these and having an explore. Climbing them was pretty tiring and the heat really is relentless. I wanted to pick out one far away and be the only one to head off to conquer it, but I quickly discovered why no one else was bothering to do this - the sun is just too hot, and your attempts to get there mean you tire out and want to just lie on the ground pretty quickly.

Also, the sand will get in your shoes. Lots of it. Before getting into the car I was literally pouring out piles of the stuff.

 There are a few mines that you can go and take a look at and learn about as well. I found this really interesting, as I was struggling just walking around and looking at the mine - I couldn't imagine actually having to work and live in these places.

 Welcome to Furnace Creek. It is hot. You will not look good.

 Next up, we went to Badwater Basin - the lowest point in the United States and where the hottest temperature recorded was.

 You can walk out pretty far into it. It's an odd kind of thing to do, as the heat just carries on beaming down at you and there is no breeze whatsoever which makes it start feeling hard to breathe and like sound isn't quite transmitting properly at you. That last point is a weird one to try to explain so I'm not going to - it's one you'll just have to experience for yourself! It's a salt lake, and yes, I did touch the ground and give it a taste - and yes, Chris did heavily judge me for doing so!

 Death Valley was a difficult day, but we're glad we did it. The heat wasn't QUITE as bad as we thought it would be, but it's still incredibly unpleasant walking around in it. We're disappointed that we didn't get to do quite as much as we wanted as a lot of Death Valley does require you to be in a car that's able to go off road and we're also disappointed we missed out on seeing these rare fish that are only found there, but driving in the wrong way at the beginning unfortunately meant we had to miss that off our list. It was certainly an experience that we enjoyed seeing, and also meant we could justify each having about three ice creams while we were there. Necessary.

Next stop - Bodie, California!


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