again, click here if you're in a hurry for pictures
Death Valley is one of my favorite national park destinations. The inevitable question is why? It's just a hot desert place where nothing grows. There's no place to stay unless you want to camp. There's nothing to do there except watch water evaporate.
OK, first of all, there are more than a thousand species of plants that grow in Death Valley - 50 of which grow nowhere else in the world. There are almost 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that call the valley home. The park covers 5,200 square miles and is connected by a network of more than 700 miles of roads. It ranges in elevation from 282 feet below sea level at Badwater to 11,049 feet at the top of Telescope Peak. By mid October the average daytime temperature has dropped below 100 degrees, and by mid November the 70 to 85 degree afternoon temperatures are a welcome relief to the near freezing temperatures back at home. It boasts a fabulous oasis hotel with fine dining and a hot spring-fed pool.
Death Valley National Park is HUGE. It's half again as big as Yellowstone. In spite of being situated between Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, it is about as remote as any place on the continent. Historically, it has been a place to avoid, and few were successful in exploiting the many mining opportunities available in the region. Even today, summertime in the valley is dangerous. Air temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees F, and ground temperatures have been measured to exceed 200 degrees, just short of the boiling point!
So, besides a personal sentimental attachment to the place, there's a lot more going on there than meets the casual eye. These pages document a four day, three night visit in mid November, 2007and some of the things I found that were of interest to me. Of course, my interests are fairly narrow - flora, fauna, geology, archeology, paleontology, sociology, musicology, mineralogy, architecture, photography, 3D photography, hiking, astronomy and 4x4 back roading (no off-roading in Death Valley), so you might not find anything here that matches your interests.
For the most part we explored the park by specific region destinations. The sections below are organized in the order we encountered them. Incidentals include a few plants and animals and 3D pictures that are grouped together at the end. In planning our itinerary I was not prepared for the short late autumn days. After all, my last 'big vacation' was summer in Iceland where we had 23 hours of sunlight every day to support non-stop sightseeing. Here it was black as the inside of a gold mine by 7:00 pm. Sunsets were beautiful, however!
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4