The idea to visit Death Valley came about this past June when my mom, Allyson, and I all visited Uncle Larry in South Carolina. My mom wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway because she heard it was beautiful. While we were driving it, I noticed it was a national park. After arriving back to Uncle Larry’s house I googled national parks and Death Valley came up. So then I google Death Valley and came across a book called To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the mystery of Endurance. It’s about a writer who was to cover an ultramarthon race in Death Valley valley and decided to run it himself with only seven months training. After I finished the book I knew I had to visit and informed Brian that we would be going there for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I really had no idea what to expect.
There are only three places to stay unless you want to camp. (Not this girl). Furnace creek, stovepipe wells, and Panamint springs. When I was pricing them some of the rooms at furnace creek were 600 a night. I eliminated that place really quick and it was by far the nicest from the outside. It seems like Panamint springs was not open which is just as well because it looked a little shabby. We stayed at stovepipe wells which was in the middle. It got its name back in the day as the only well around. Miners would come to find it and someone finally stuck a stovepipe up to mark it. It is no longer in use but can be seen three miles away. However due to the rain the night before that road was closed. It was the same road that ran to Scotty’s Castle which was also closed. Actually the rainstorm stranded a group of people up there for 24 hours.
No one lives in death valley except the people who work there. There are no subdivisions or anything.
The race starts at badwater which is 279 feet below sea level and the lowest point in North America. I wanted to see this most of all but it had been closed for a week due to the rain they received the week before. We were able to see it from Dantes pass which was 5000 feet above sea level. The hotel was at sea level and it was 80 degrees and Dantes pass was 60. The change in temperature and air pressure related to how far above sea level we were was really fascinating. The race ends at Mt. Whitney which is 8300 feet above sea level. The race goes past all three hotels and is 135 miles long. I thought it was a slow climb, boy was I ever wrong. We drove part of the course as they run right on the highway. It’s climbing up and down 5000 feet at least three times. It’s total insanity.
There were a few things open to see and they were really cool. Brian and I hiked 2 miles into a canyon which said do not attempt of rain predicted. We quickly realized even .2 inch of rain would cause flash flooding and down pouring of water. The ground is so hard it doesn’t absorb much of anything so rain washes everything out.
I wanted to see the place that actually has fish but it was rained out. The place with the moving rocks also not available. I did convince Brian to drive down rainbow canyon and it was kind of like Dorothy waking up in Oz. This area receives a lot more rain. There were big trees and they were green. I found red and yellow plants. Some of the trees had orange flowers. There was an 8 mile hike we wanted to do but we had no time. We had to leave for the Grand Canyon. The colors were awesome but I’m an earth color person.
There is so much more to see and do that I already told Brian I want to come back for my big birthday. It is only a ninety minute drive from Vegas. I would like to stay for five days. This means I need to work on upper body and core so we can do some of the harder hikes.
Mole moral~ you just never know what agreeing to walk a half marathon with Jen P and Erin S would lead to six years later. That led to running which lead me to the book which brought me to Death Valley the most awesome place I’ve ever been.