Here come the sun!

Death Valley Travel Blog

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prepare to watch the sunrise

"Here come the sun!" is a Beatles' song that was played the moment the sunrise over the snow covered trees on my trip to Munich in 2005. Since then, it has been my favorite song for watching the sun.

My friends and I left LA around 7pm. Even so, there was still traffic. We stopped at a HongKongese cafe and then a teahouse in San Gabriel valley. We arrived in Barstow around mid night and met our San Diego's friends.  The desert wind was icy. We got to our campsite around 3 am. We pitched our tent in the dark. Some of us decided to go to sleep. Most of us started the fire and then roasted some cuttlefish, a vietnamese delicacy, and chewed the night away. My sister made some hot chocolate which was very good.

sleeping like a turtle to keep warm
However, the cold was bitting my toes off. I decided to change and wore more layers. I had 3 layers for legs, 2 top layers plus a down jacket, really warm socks, faux fur lined boots, hat and gloves. However, I was still cold. It was only 5 am. Normally, I got up at 5.30 am and go to work after getting ready. So, I thought the sunrise would be any minute now. We head over Zabriskie point at 5:30. The moon was above our head. Everywhere was pitch black. We follow the moonlit path to the top. The icy wind was attacking us in every direction! We decided to run around in circles, do a jumping jacks, huddle, sing. Nothing could keep us warm! We were out there for 20 minutes and no sun was in view, not even a ray of light! It was 6.20 am. There were two shooting stars passed us by.  They were as long as Zion.
not yet at dawn
But we were freezing. We couldn't even feel our toes. We decided to head back to our car and wait for the sun in there. While in the car, some of us were snoring loudly while I kept on looking east for the sun. I could see the dark slowly retreat for the blue gray eastern horizon. Finally, there were some white light but the sun was nowhere insight. We head up to Zabriskie point again. The sun was still not in sight for another 30 minutes. While some of us stay at top of Zabriskie point, I decided to head down to the valley. The wind wasn't so bad there. At this point, I was only able to have my hands out for a few minutes to take pictures.  Finally the sun appeared, colored the landscape with the most amazing warm color. I was so caught up in capturing the moment, I completely forgot about my hands.
light break
By the time, I'm done, my hands were as red as landscape.

Upon returning to our tents, I found a raven beautifully perched on a tree. While everyone retired to their tents and fell asleep quickly, I was making noodle soup for everyone. After filling up my belly with some hot soup, and basked under the sun, I was ready to head out. My sister and another friend joined me for a quick exploration. We drove pass the mustard canyon, the hill was mustardlike, mesquite flat sand dune, devil's corn field. I couldn't get out to take  picture since I was driving and some part have soft shoulder. We took the dirt road to mosaic canyon and make a morning hike. Mosaic canyon wasn't as mosaic as I thought. One has to examine the granite rocks of the canyon up close to see the mosaic pattern of each rock.

waiting
The sun did not shine through the canyon yet. I imagine the canyon would light up like gold when it does.

We returned to the camp. The rest of the group hasn't been up yet. After getting ready for lunch, we headed to Badwater basin, 385 ft below sea level. It was a strange sight, the salt deposit was as white as snow. We drove over to natural bridge and make our hike. Some of us was disappointed at the natural bridge since it wasn't as glorious as expected. I read the information how the natural bridge formed. It was quite interesting for me since i'm a science geek. Others were determined that the bridge we saw wasn't "the natural bridge." They decided to trailblaze past the bridge in hope to see a much more amazing site. They returned in vain.

The sun was setting.

waiting
We raced to reach the devil's golf course and artist paletes. Driving in Death Valley is a treat itself. Every hills, canyons, mountains have a strong presence like "eyes in the hills" movie and strange color like a play house. Perhaps my favorite drive in the whole world would be artists paletes' drive. The windy one way drive take us through some amazing formation of mudd, and beautiful color hills. It was like riding a roller coaster with a view.

We ended the day with Korean bbq and sticky rice ball that I had prepared ahead of time.  After some meat and wine, I felt a lot warmer and retired to my sleeping bag. The moon was out but we could see the whole milky way. Death Valley isn't as dead as its name.

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prepare to watch the sunrise
prepare to watch the sunrise
sleeping like a turtle to keep warm
sleeping like a turtle to keep warm
not yet at dawn
not yet at dawn
light break
light break
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting
waiting still
waiting still
here come
here come
here come
here come
here come
here come
the sun
the sun
oh glorious
oh glorious
SUN!!!
SUN!!!
creeping
creeping
creeping across
creeping across
creeping across
creeping across
the great wall of death valley
the great wall of death valley
across the salt plain
across the salt plain
a raven
a raven
mosaic canyon
mosaic canyon
mosaic canyon
mosaic canyon
color of death valley
color of death valley
dry canyon
dry canyon
badwater basin
badwater basin
salt formation
salt formation
badwater basin
badwater basin
my sister and I
my sister and I
natural bridge
natural bridge
natural bridge
natural bridge
fiery silvery shrub of the death v…
fiery silvery shrub of the death …
devil golf course
devil golf course
a strange arrow in sky at dusk
a strange arrow in sky at dusk
artists palete
artist's palete
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photo by: Margarita