Have you ever been to Death Valley National Park? It's an incredible place. It's a weird place. It's almost an out-of-this-world place. We drove for nearly an hour and never even saw a bug hit the windshield. Some parts of the park are so devoid of life that it's scary. I suppose when people hear the name Death Valley, they think of relentless heat. Temperatures can go over 120 degrees in summer. The camping season doesn't even begin until fall. Spring is the best time to visit because the place comes alive with wildflowers. We were there in 2001, right after Nathan was born. We went in February and it was below freezing at night -- and we were in a pop-up trailer -- brrr!
The picture above was taken at Badwater Basin -- 282 feet below sea level. There are some spectacular places to see in Death Valley, even more so if you have a 4x4 that can go on rougher roads. There are incredible sand dunes in the park. The girls brought snow discs and had a blast sliding down the hills. There's another place called the Devil's Golfcourse, which you just have to see to believe. One of the highlights for us happened right as we were leaving the park to go home. A roadrunner ran out in front of our car and a few seconds later we saw a coyote behind it. It was straight out of Looney Tunes. Even though it seems desolate, wildlife is abundant. The park is home to coyotes, mountain lions, ravens, ground squirrels, roadrunners, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and even bighorn in the mountains.
Death Valley was home to the Timbisha Tribe of American Indians. It didn't get it's English name until the time of the Gold Rush when prospectors decided to cross the valley searching for gold. Only one death was reported during that time, but the name still stuck. Gold and silver were found in the valley, but it was salt and borax that people eventually came for. The picture below was taken at the sand dunes. Rick looks pretty ticked off, but he's not. It's exhaustion. He thought it would be fun to run to the tallest sand dune they could find. They're farther away than they look! If I ever get back down to California, I want to go back to this park. It's one of those places you just have to see and experience for yourself.
What comes to mind when you hear the name -- Death Valley?