Thursday, December 25, 2008

Death Valley to Panamint Springs

We left the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel at Death Valley Junction and proceeded onto Death Valley proper.

Death Valley is a massive desert which gets really hot during summer. It has amazing rock formations, interesting wild life and did I mention that it gets really hot? While we were there in the middle of winter, it peaked at 17 degrees Celsius. Of course, this isn't THAT hot, but in the middle of summer it can max out at a whopping 46 degrees Celsius. While we are on the subject of summer, in 1913 the temperature peaked at 57 degrees Celsius, which is just insane.

From Death Valley Junction, we headed west for Dantes View (highest point in all of Death Valley at 1669 metres high),

then on to Zabriskie Point,

down to Badwater (lowest point below sea level in the US) and the water is undrinkable hence the name,

back up to Artists Drive where there is an amazing multicoloured stone formation called Artists Palette

and on to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center (we saw a wild coyote! Sorry for the poor photo).

We then saw the Harmony Borax Works Interpretive Trail,

All the white snow-like stuff below is borax

then drove through Mustard Canyon

and from there headed for Panamint Springs. Last stop before Panamint Springs was to check out the giant Mesquite sand dunes.

We stayed in Panamint Springs Resort, which was great - a real desert pub and motel on the edge of Death Valley. We had a great meal, the staff were friendly and the beer selection was second to none. Sha in particular, was very taken with the Alaskan Smoked Porter - very tasty indeed. We also got to meet the resident pub cats who were both very cute and overweight. The walls of the dining room in the pub were swathed with all manner of photos of the desert and inspirational quotes. They even had the mounted head of a Jackalope too!

Well, that's all for now but check out this link for more Death Valley places of interest. Next up we encounter Charlie Manson's truck in a ghost town and then head west to the Californian coast.

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