Sunday, January 13, 2013

California - Death Valley National Park

The next morning did not start out very well :(.  We woke up to a puddle under our camper.  AGAIN!  Oh. My. Goodness.  Seriously?

Before, there was always a puddle under the front of the camper and to one side.  This time the puddle was kinda in the middle and way underneath.  There wasn't a thing we could do about it that day so we decided to just go on with our plans and hopefully whatever caused the puddle would just go away.  Haha :)!

Everyone got ready, we packed a picnic, and hit the road to Death Valley National Park.  The kids and I had been looking forward to seeing this place although we really had no idea exactly what was going to be there.  Genius, right? :)

Welllll, our (my) lack of planning was obvious soon after we arrived.  The places that we had heard about were spaced SO far apart and/or required such incredibly long hikes to get to that there was just no way to see them all in one days time.  Bummer.

Our first stop was the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to get our entrance sticker, get a map, and for the kids to get their Jr. Ranger books.  With these things in hand, we set out to see as much as possible in the time we had.

There were areas where the ground was covered with chunky, broken up rocks as far as we could see.  Strange...

We saw some dunes.  Some people were really happy to see them, they were rolling all around in the sand :)

Next we went to the Salt Creek area to walk the trails and try to find some pupfish.  There was a picnic table by the creek, so we ate our lunch first and then we were ready to find the tiny fish.  We looked and looked, but aren't sure we saw any fish.  One maybe at the far end of the trail, it was darting around so fast we couldn't be sure.  Oh well, it was a fun walk anyway.

Our next stop was at the old Harmony Borax Works.  In the late 1800's borax was mined in DV and hauled out by large mule teams pulling double wagons.  Perhaps you have heard of the famous Twenty Mule Teams?...


We went on the Artist's Drive and saw the colored rocks...

The last place we saw was Badwater Basin.  At 282 feet below sea level, this spot is the lowest place in North America.  Pretty crazy if you stop to really think about it.  Up on a mountain is a sign that marks where sea level shows just how "deep" 282 feet under water would be.

Death Valley is called the hottest, driest, lowest.  It is all that, but there is so much to experience there as well.  I'm glad for all that we got to see, but I would not recommend going like we did...we stayed too far away and had too little time there.  

The kids were able to finish up their Jr. Ranger books and we took them back to the FC visitor center.  The Ranger that went over everything with them was SO nice.  He really enjoyed talking with the kids and made the whole thing extra special.  When they were done, he awarded them their badges AND gave each of them a patch :).

After a very full day, we headed back to the campground.  We had just made a turn when we saw a sign out in the middle of the desert that said Historical District.  Do what?...there were no buildings!  We pulled over to check it out.  There were door ways and windows carved into the cliffs.  We peeked inside some of them and there were rooms that went back farther than we could see.  It was getting dark, so we weren't able to see very well.  I wonder what it was...

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