Our First Trip to Death Valley

With May already upon us, it was time to quicken the pace to Oregon. Our volunteering jobs would begin in June.

We managed to squeeze in a quick visit with Patricia’s family in Las Vegas after leaving Hurricane. We stayed at a familiar park near Boulder City, NV for two days – Boulder Beach campground along the western shore of Lake Mead.

Now it was time to determine which route to take to Oregon. The quickest would have us going up the west side of Nevada but we didn’t need to go THAT fast! We settled on dropping into Death Valley, catch the highly touted Highway 395 of California’s Eastern Sierra’s then make a beeline for the northern California coastal redwoods. Patricia was really hoping to get another chance to capture the enviable combination of giant trees blanketed in fog with blooming rhododendrons at their feet.

We only spent two nights in Death Valley. Temperatures were already predicted to be in the 90’s so two days was quite enough. However, we did manage to get around to several of the popular features within the Furnace Creek area including Zabriskie Point, The Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Drive, Golden Canyon and the lowest point in North America – Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level! These are places with heavy tourist traffic but the two days gave us a much better idea of where we want to spend our time on a return visit in cooler conditions.

One thing to keep in mind about visiting here is just how big it is! Expect to do a fair amount of driving if you hope to see all the sites!

Leaving Death Valley (westward to Lone Pine) is an experience itself! Two tough climbs on a narrow road made this driver pretty tired!

Late afternoon light at Death Valley from Zabriskie Point lookout.

Late afternoon light at Death Valley from Zabriskie Point lookout.