Our first morning in the town of Beatty, Nevada was pleasant as the temperatures were in the 80’s and lucky for us will be no higher than that during our stay here. As I mentioned we are at a no-frills park, Beatty RV Park but its proximity to Death Valley makes for trips over to the National Park nice… Death Valley , the hottest, driest place in North America where you can find yourself at the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level!
Our first foray into Death Valley National Park had us taking route 374 into California where we took Beatty Road to see the southern part of the park. Entering the park from this direction at Hell’s Gate there is a 13 mile decent into Death Valley as you drop well over 3500 feet in elevation.
Our first glimpse of Death Valley brought to mind how vast this over 3,000,000 acre park is and also how absolutely stark it is… The lower in elevation you drop the less vegetation is visible and the hotter it gets… We mentally found ourselves at a period back in time when this land was first explored and wondered in awe how the first settlers and Native Americans survived in such an unforgiving environment.Some people come to love the desert and appreciate its beauty (like me) whereas others (like Sharon) are somewhat put off by feeling that this desert is too desolate due to the harshness of the landscape.
We packed lunch because we planned a full day with stops on our list for this route that included the Harmony Borax Works, Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center, Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, Badwater Basin, Devil’s Golf Course and the scenic Artist Palette Loop, as well as several other minor stops. Sharon really enjoyed the 20 minute movie at the visitor center and the park map we picked up there was helpful and easy to follow. We were glad we thought to fill up with gas before coming to the park because we noticed the price of regular at Furnace Creek was $5.89/gal. Ouch!
Each stop in Death Valley had its own beauty whether is was the hues of color in the rock, shadows on the rolling jagged hills, textures of the landscape, or just the sheer enormity and beauty of it all. I can’t find all the words to describe the views so I will let the pictures speak for me. My mind wandered as did my imagination. The scene in the last picture below appeared to me as if we were all walking down the path to the mother ship waiting perhaps for it to remove us from this “unknown world”… The only thing seemingly missing was the beam of light that would transport the people up to the sky…