Thursday, April 21, 2011

Death Valley, CA

Here it is!  Photos from our recent trip with my parents to Death Valley, CA (today) and Zion National Park, UT (soon... I promise!)

Jacob, Caleb and I were the adventurers on this trip, courtesy of my parents!  Thanks *so* much, Mom and Dad!  (I'll gladly be your "designated photographer" on any future trips!  : )  )

This was Caleb's first time to fly~ I was *so* excited for him!  Flying is such fun!
We flew in to Las Vegas, NV.  It was my first time there.  Talk about sensory overload!  Wow!  We just drove through a small portion of Las Vegas~ and honestly, it was plenty for me.  I'm not at all interested in gambling or shopping, so a quick drive-through was enough.

Can you see the roller coaster in the photo below?  It actually originates in a hotel!  Crazy!
After a few hours of driving, we arrived.  Death Valley.  Even after reading about Death Valley, I found myself unprepared for what it really was.  I knew it was large.  Honestly though, "large" simply doesn't do it justice... it is immense!  And not just a large oval desert with tons of sand either.  There are sand dunes, yes, but also hilly, rocky areas, vast salt flats.... and, well how about if I just show you some photos so you can see for yourself?
Death Valley, taken on my iPhone

Yes, we actually had  clouds the first day we were there!  It was a good thing too, since the temperature topped 100 degrees F!
"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, 
In a dry and weary land where there is no water."

At one point when we were driving North through Death Valley to hike it was so desolate that a car didn't pass us for at least 20 minutes.  Such a lonely, quiet area!
Flowers in the desert?  Yes, please!  In a place so dry (less than 2" of rain/year) that even cactus don't grow, I found myself absolutely captivated by the tough little flowers that insist on blooming during spring in Death Valley.

We were able to squeeze several hikes in each day~ the topography captivated and amazed me!
Here, we were hiking out past a small "river" that was significantly saltier than even the ocean.  Incredibly, the water is habituated with a small fish who lives nowhere else in the world... the Pup fish! Such diversity the Lord created, yes?
How about a Road Runner?  This guy was running through the common area near our hotel room in Furnace Springs~ which is a natural oasis there in Death Valley.  I think if I were a road runner in Death Valley, I'd hang out here too!  (sorry, no coyote!)

It was common to find small areas of wildflowers by the roadside... those plants received a small amount of additional rain each year in runoff from the road which enabled them to grow and bloom there.  Lovely!
The next few photos were taken at the original hotel in Death Valley... another natural oasis there~ incredibly beautiful landscaping and so lush!

Only a few miles from the above oasis is the "Devil's golfcourse," more surreal Death Valley landscape.  The ground is pushed up into hard salt-encrusted "bumps" that extend for a great distance. Very, very strange.
Badwater is the lowest point in Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level.  (Badwater is also the starting point for the infamous Badwater Ultramarathon~ a 100 mile race which is run during July each year here.  It is officially been removed from my bucket list! LOL!!)
Before leaving Death Valley to drive to Zion National Park, we drove up to "Dante's View," overlooking Death Valley from 5,475 feet above Death Valley!  Not only was the view incredible (having trouble coming up with new adjectives!), but it was also about 20 degrees cooler!  Aaaah!

The view wasn't as crystal-clear as I would have hoped due to extremely windy conditions the day before (lots of dust in the air!), but such a view!  The white area in the photo below are the salt flats at Badwater~ mile after mile of salty, desolate landscape.

Love this photo of my Dad... he *thrives* on traveling and exploring~ to me this shot typifies him.
Up next, photos from Zion National Park, UT....

Hope you've enjoyed this whirlwind tour of Death Valley!


  1. WOW what awesome pictures!
    Just gorgious! Splendid!
    Makes me what to take a trip!

    Happy Easter!


  2. How AMAZING to see these photos Susan...thank you for sharing! What a blessing that you are able to do these trips with your parents and some of your children. And I agree...God's Handiwork is AWESOME!! Truly.

    Many blessings to you!


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