Where the desert meets the mountains...
Nope, never heard of Death Valley prior to this trip. And that's really a shame! This park should easily be on everyone's "must see" list. The vast difference in terrain is truly something to behold. This place is worth your time, a few days of time to be exact. We barely scratched the surface on this golden valley. I'd like to think, and hope, we will someday return. Since our visit, I've seen photos from others that have been and I find myself saying, "Oh man! We missed that! Wonder where that was?" You know, we've all been there done that, right?! The time you have is never enough.
Death Valley will always hold a special place in our hearts because it was our first stop on our maiden voyage. The excitement in our little motor home, that first morning waking up, was through the roof! We were all up at 5am (mainly due to time change), ate a quick nutritious cereal breakfast, bundled up cause it was surprisingly cold in the desert in the morning, loaded the boys in their packs and set out to catch our first sunrise over Zabriskie Point.
The trek to Zabriskie Point wasn't even a trek. It was only a short jaunt from the parking lot. We clearly did not consider this a "hike" but it was definitely worth taking in and showcasing on the blog!
A 5am wake up call most certainly called for afternoon naps. We re-charged our batteries and headed out for our first hike of the trip. Starting at the Golden Canyon trailhead, we made our way towards Zabriskie Point. You can actually hike all the way to Zabriskie's trailhead from Golden Canyon, which is just shy of a 6 mile trek, however, unless you were able to leave a car or have someone pick you up, you'd have to turn around and head back to Golden Canyon, making the entire journey a 12 mile jaunt. We opted for a shorter version and went 2.5 miles in. We were surrounded by a sea of golden tones, with a gorgeous blue sky creating a dramatic contrast. This hike is highly recommended.
The one thing I was most excited about in visiting DVNP were the sand dunes! After seeing pictures online, I couldn't wait to get my toes in that silky smooth sand. One of my absolute favorite memories from this trip will forever be chasing our toddler in the beach-like bliss, laughing, tickling and playing hide&seek in the sparse bushes. We didn't experience many meltdowns on this trip, but telling Rowen it was time to go after an hour of play in the sand, caused one. I was sad to say good-bye, too.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
In conclusion, Death Valley was just super cool! We learned some really interesting facts. Did you know that it is officially the hottest place on Earth with a record temperature of 134 degrees?! Did you know it is the driest place in the US, with less than two inches of rain per year?! And did you know that Badwater Basin in Death Valley is the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level?! Maybe you just learned something new today! The last two pictures are taken at Badwater Basin, one strolling the salt flats and one of Mav sitting over 200ft below sea level.. pretty cool!
Planning a trip to the desert lands of California? We can help! Shoot us an email with any questions, or just to say "hi".. we'd love to connect with you!