Death Valley National Park, Pahrump, and Las Vegas

Death Valley Travel Blog

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ruins of old borax mine

We got up, packed up, and headed off into the desert!  It was over 100 degrees when we reached the Death Valley general store and gas station.  (gas here was actually cheaper than places before the park...some places over $4 a gallon, the highest we saw all trip!  I think they play on peoples fear of running out of gas inside this large, hot  park...miles from anywhere.  The general store was about .50 cents cheaper that the stations in the last town)   You should definately top off your tank regardless of price, though.  If you run out of gas and water here...you could die!   Inside the park, we walked a trail to the remains of an old borax mining operation, which was once the main industry around here.

Artist's Palette
 

 They used to use 20-mule teams to haul the borax to market. We stopped at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, and learned a lot about the park.  They had several displays featuring the early mining operations, borax samples, etc.  There was also a post office there, we took the opportunity to send out a few more post cards.  We had a nice (but expensive) lunch in the complex, then went exploring.  The ancient dried up lake bed left great salt flats, known as the "Devil's Golf Course".  The road leading up to it is very bumpy and uneven...4 wheel drive is a recommended. When  the old lake that was here dried up, it left all these uneven, crystallized salt deposits.  Tyler pried up a small triangle of salt crystal to keep as a souviner.

Devil's Golf Course
  After exploring the Golf Course for awhile, we went to see the trail loop known as the Artist's Palette, with large multi-colored rock formations.  Dawn, being an artist, was especially impressed by this.  I wanted to do some more hiking around here, but I was outvoted because it was just too hot!

 We continued on to Badwater Basin,  which at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest spot in the continental United States.  It is also one of the hottest!  The temperature here today reached 113 degrees, just a couple degrees shy of the 115 it was in the Badlands.   ( the Badlands, though, was an anomoly and a record...that temperature around here is normal!)  There was a boardwalk and some water in Badwater Basin ( so named because of the high salt content, early traveler's horses would not drink here, because of "bad water")   A sign high up on the cliff indicates where sea level is.

Badwater Basin
  We walked around the salt trails a bit, but it was just too hot to go too far!  We went through a LOT of water today.   Overall there were some very nice views here, the sun was setting as we left the park. Dawn would later say that this park was her favorite. 

We drove on through the desert into Nevada, passing through the town of Pahrump.  Dawn was happy about that, because that was the hometown of her favorite radio personality, Art Bell.  We drove down into Las Vegas, and actually found a KOA RV park, right on the Las Vegas Strip!  I thought that was cool, but Dawn was mortified that we were the only tent campers there. It was right behind the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino.  Tyler and I went in the pool/ hot tub complex for about an hour, then Tyler and Dawn went to bed.   I was more hungry than tired, so I went to the casino and got something to eat. Couldn't resist playing a little roulette. Was fortunate to break even!

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ruins of old borax mine
ruins of old borax mine
Artists Palette
Artist's Palette
Devils Golf Course
Devil's Golf Course
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
This was Dawns favorite park
This was Dawn's favorite park
See what happens when you backpack…
See what happens when you backpac…
The general store just outside Dea…
The general store just outside De…
General Store
General Store
waiting in line...for the only res…
waiting in line...for the only re…
loud raven!
loud raven!
A Pool!  Ty wanted to go swimming.…
A Pool! Ty wanted to go swimming…
Burned Wagons Point marker, acro…
"Burned Wagons Point" marker, acr…
A non-burned wagon near Burned Wag…
A non-burned wagon near Burned Wa…
filled up on gas here...was ONLY $…
filled up on gas here...was ONLY …
Approaching the old Borax mine
Approaching the old Borax mine
the plants were pretty parched!
the plants were pretty parched!
Borax works
Borax works
At the Borax works
At the Borax works
once the main industry here
once the main industry here
pretty colored hills dwarf my truck
pretty colored hills dwarf my truck
The poor mule teams had to drag th…
The poor mule teams had to drag t…
back to the air conditioned truck!
back to the air conditioned truck!
It felt like a furnace!
It felt like a furnace!
I bet they have air conditioning i…
I bet they have air conditioning …
How hot IS hot?  (pretty darned ho…
How hot IS hot? (pretty darned h…
Dinosaur fossil in the visitor cen…
Dinosaur fossil in the visitor ce…
How Death Valley got its name
How Death Valley got its name
Borax samples in the visitor center
Borax samples in the visitor center
display of old miners tools
display of old miner's tools
We had lunch at the Furnace Creek …
We had lunch at the Furnace Creek…
We had lunch here..it was good, bu…
We had lunch here..it was good, b…
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Artists Palette
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Tyler in the distance at Devils Go…
Tyler in the distance at Devils G…
Devils Golf Course
Devils Golf Course
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Chunk of salt that is now in Tyler…
Chunk of salt that is now in Tyle…
Salt Flats
Salt Flats
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
282 feet below sea level...and 113…
282 feet below sea level...and 11…
small water holes in the salt
small water holes in the salt
parts were worn flat from so many …
parts were worn flat from so many…
Tyler is running out of gas!
Tyler is running out of gas!
H-O-T !
H-O-T !
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
The road outta Dodge!
The road outta Dodge!
obligatory pose
obligatory pose
other side of the sign
other side of the sign
Ty plays in the dirt...looking for…
Ty plays in the dirt...looking fo…
maybe some in these holes?
maybe some in these holes?
ready to head out
ready to head out
Leaving California!
Leaving California!
Tyler is half in each state
Tyler is half in each state
Our last California sunset
Our last California sunset
Dawn was happy to be in Art Bell L…
Dawn was happy to be in Art Bell …
First Nevada sunset!
First Nevada sunset!
Death Valley
photo by: Margarita