It was the Route 66 that led us away from the Grand Canyon and in direction of Las Vegas. But instead of stopping – yet – at that city with the reputation of being its own kind of hell, we drove on into the desert to find our own devilish place in the Death Valley.
I had anticipated this day for a long time and sure enough, it did become my personal highlight of our US-road trip. Despite its somewhat hellish reputation and the deterring warnings in the guidebooks, talking about the dangers of heatstroke and dehydration, the Death Valley was an amazing place to be. Yes, it is one of the hottest places on earth (the hottest temperature ever measured there was 56,7 °C in 1913) and it is a massive, over 3.4 million acres-large desert (which makes it to the largest US National Park outside of Alaska), so common sense is required when visiting the park. But we played it safe, took a lot of water with us, drank a lot, stuck to the RV-suitable roads and didn’t jog off into the desert and survived. And even if this might make our time there sound a bit boring, it definitely wasn’t.
We arrived in the late evening, as we were going to stay on one of the larger campgrounds for two nights. As there was no check-in deadline and as the sun was still up, we had time to explore part of one of the scenic drives called the Artist’s Drive. Aptly, the point we visited was named the “Artist’s Palette” and I think that if you look at the photos I took, you get a fair idea where this name comes from.
Hailing from Miocene times, the Artist’s Palette showcases a range of colours. The different hues are the result of chemical weathering (such as oxidation of the rocks) and hydrothermal alterations (the changing of minerals due to contact with hot fluids). For example, the different yellow shades are the consequence of varying amount or different iron oxides.
After the sun had nearly set, we headed over to the campground. Further picturesque places in the Death Valley were to be explored the next day and I shall show you those photos in the next blog post.
But before that and in other news – I have finally found the time to enhance my Adobe Muse-skills and to update my website. Please, have a look at the result here. And if you have a spare minute, I would really appreciate your feedback (there is a simple contact form on the site or simply leave a comment below the post here). Thank you!
And of course, if you’d like to read more about the Death Valley, have a look here: