December 14-15 2015
Some pictures from 2015 followed by a trip with Sharon in 2009.
A natural wonder.
October 29 2009
Our entrance to Death Valley – we came in from Las Vegas on the 190 (click on the link for a view of our time in Las Vegas), State Line Road, and a wowzer entrance it was. You know you’re in for something cool.
And speaking of cool, the weather is per-per-PERfect. Cool, bright, still. Perfect!
We kicked off today with a visit to one of the prime attractions in Death Valley – Scotty’s Castle…not Scotty’s (it was built and owned by Albert and Bessie Johnson), not a castle (its design, they say, is Spanish Villa), but a prime attraction due to all the stories the guides can tell of its history.
We swung through Stovepipe Wells for a snack before a quick stop by the dunes.
This is it, except for the gas station and general store behind me, this, the motel-restaurant combo is it for Stovepipe Wells. I thought I remembered random buildings scattered around but if there were they are gone now.
And our last Interpretive Trail (don’t we love these things at the National Parks?!), The Salt Creek Interpretive Trail.
Here it’s all about the pupfish. From what I remember: Back when Death Valley was a sea there was this fish, the pupfish. Then as the sea disappeared only the pupfish evolved to stay alive in the more and more salty ponds that were left until eventually they evolved into about 7 different species each inhabiting its own salty pond, so the conservation efforts are directed towards protecting them.
I’m copying this directly from Ms Wiki because it is interesting and explains a little of why this area seems different from the rest of Death Valley:
“Millions of years prior to the actual sinking and widening of Death Valley and the existence of Lake Manly, another lake covered a large portion of Death Valley including the area around Zabriskie Point….
“This ancient lake began forming approximately nine million years ago. During several million years of the lake’s existence, sediments were collecting at the bottom in the form of saline muds, gravels from nearby mountains, and ashfalls from the then-active Black Mountain volcanic field. These sediments combined to form what we today call the Furnace Creek Formation.”
…and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on their patio. We’re off tomorrow morning. It’s been grand.
A few comments about food and accommodations in Death Valley. You don’t have a lot of choices. There is camping in giant RV lots, some smaller spots, and some ‘hike ins’.
And then there is 1) Furnace Creek Inn (expensive and lovely with an upscale restaurant but not on the scale of the great National Park lodges), 2) Furnace Creek Ranch (nice enough motel style rooms and a cute little compound of restaurants, general store, pool, museum, etc.), 3) Stovepipe Wells (similar amenities as Furnace Creek Ranch but much less charming), and 4) Panamint Springs Resort (very out of the way and not much to speak of). Really, besides for some general store style food at Scotty’s Castle, that’s it.
So don’t expect much in terms of amenities, just relish in the glory of the vast landscape. You won’t be sorry you went.