Trip de Americae: Death Valley

After the amazing sight of the Grand Canyon yesterday, I am off for the next natural wonders in the world. Day 2 of my road trip takes me to the Death Valley. The hottest place in America and probably in the world as well? While I have not accomplished my mission of going to the coldest place on earth, I have definitely made it to the hottest one one! The Grand Canyon and Death Valley are pretty much doable with Las Vegas as your base. Notwithstanding being the one of the most unbearable place on earth, the Death Valley is also a place with magical sites, flora and fauna. Perhaps this is also the main reason why we are still be able to see such a rustic place on earth, the lack of human intervention. Death Valley also contains the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin is the point of the lowest elevation at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. The hottest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913, which makes this place a disaster in the summer months, but then, a perfect day trip in the winter season!

In comparison to the Grand Canyon, the journey was much more easier, roughly a 2 hours drive from Vegas itself. We headed off bright and early and stop by the near by McDonald’s for breakfast before heading towards the direction of the Death Valley.

The journey there boost amazing views, with clear blue skies with occasionally flakes of clouds that felt like a drawing instead, together with the mountain ranges as backdrop, it was so lovely! It should have only take us about 2 and a half hour, if we didn’t stop too often for pictures. Trust me you will!  Technically not legal, but pull over to the side of the highway to take these amazing shots!

I love how the mountain ranges changes over time and the style are different as you drive. It sure felt like you are driving between mountains. What an experiences. We arrived shortly after 9am and it a stark contrast to the Grand Canyon. I actually prefer the Death Valley since it is more quaint, much more quieter and I never saw more than a handful of tourists.

First up would be Zabriskie Point, our very first look on this landscape. Zabriskie is located on Furnance Creek Wash Route towards the Visitor Centre. This is one of the most famous viewpoint in the park with golden coloured Bad Lands of the Furnace Creek formation. The place is extremely photogenic. It is a landscape of multiple shapes, colours, and textures. It is extremely gorgeous especially during sunsets and sunrise. I love how you can get a panoramic view of the place. From the carpark it is only a short walk up to the view point! Only god could make something so amazing. Enough of me harping on it! Enjoy the pictures!

After spending some time at Zabriskie, we set off to the Furnance Creek Visitor Centre for a long awaited toilet break and also pay our entrance fee. Which cost us $25. While you can definitely not pay, I decided to be a good visitor, after all this fees for the National Parks are used to maintain the sites. It would be sad not to be able to see such great places again! The visitor centre is pretty underwhelming, most were there to get some information from the rangers. There is also a little informative centre where you can learn more about the place.

Wasting no time further, we set off for the next site. Speeding towards my favourite place, Badwater Basin, the lowest point on earth! Located at 282 feet below sea level, it is not only the lowest point in the whole of Death Valley but also in the North America. It is a little drive, heading out to the lowest point in the whole place, do not trust google maps fully for this place, if you can’t see it despite the maps saying you have arrive, drive abit more. You will naturally see it! It is especially scenic here, a tip for taking pictures would be to walk out on the flats a bit and shoot back at the pool of water for reflection photos. Stroll on the salts flats and be amaze. There is a primitive toilet and a large parking area here. I love how flats the area is, I was literally a kid on the vast salt flats and with the mountain ranges in the background. Lovely. I love all my photos taken here!

Wanna play some golf in the Death Valley??? You can certainly do so at the Devil’s Golf Course! There is actually two idea as to why this place is named like this! It looks like little golf ball on the floor here, which is actually the crystallised salts. The other being, the floor so rugged that only devils can play golf here! Here you see a landscape of rugged floor, This jagged landscape is actually made by salts deposited by ancient salt lakes and shaped by the winds and rain over time! To get to this place you have to drive over a unpaved road, but still doable for a normal car. I did went a little slow, as I was afraid to have a puncture!

The last place that I went in the Death Valley is the Artist Drive & Artist Palette. The Artist Drive is a one way drive loop on Badwater Road that is pretty amazing, it takes you thru many rugged landscape, seeing various formation. The road is pretty narrow, so drive carefully! The 14km drive will take you through the multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills.

While the Artist’s Palette are formations that you can see different colors on the rocks. Like an artist palette! Iis especially photogenic in late afternoon light. I can’t really see it though, although the pink and green are still very much observant to me! The rocks within this section of the park have been stained myriad colours by minerals within, creating a view that resembles an artist’s palette.

With that we set off back to Vegas! In contrast to many news that you have heard, NO YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DRIVE A 4X4 TO ACCESS THE SITES! Not all of them require a all wheel drive vehicle, most of them, a simple car will suffice. Is this place a must come? I will say that it is, perfectly between Las Vegas or Los Angeles, it is an easy journey from both bases! The views are really breathtaking! Hope you guys enjoy this road trip of mine! Stay tuned for my next post, where I will be sharing about my stay in Las Vegas!

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