Death Valley National Park

I grew up being obsessed with this place.  Elementary school James would read books with how exotic and extreme it can be and marveled that people actually survived here.  My feint memory included sand dunes, no plants anywhere, and smooth wind carved rocks.

While the memory didn’t quite line up with the reality, I think this place is absolutely incredible.  Its one of the few places I’ve been to where it is possible to get a glimpse of true wilderness.

My first day in was a little bit a sight seeing.  Of course I reached the lowest point I’ve been to on the journey so far, Bad Water Basin at 282 feet below see level.

There was a strong recommendation to catch the sunrise at Dante’s Peak.  It is not the tallest place in the park, but quite near it.  I forced myself awake and drove through the very dark morning to get to the peak in time.  It was INCREDIBLE.  Despite one vehicle who arrived mid sunrise and left their lights shining on me with the engine running…

The longer hike I did was a total accident.  After the sunrise I noticed a couple groups of people start up the hill and I assumed it was just a pretty overlook from a higher vantage point.  So I followed.  And followed some more.  It turned into a 10 mile out and back to Mount Perry!  It was a ridge hike that gave fantastic views down into the Valley.

When I left the park I took these photos of what I thought was outrageous gas prices.  Future me is writing this laughing to what was coming in the summer.