Desert Sun – Badwater Basin
5 a.m. – 76 degrees.
As you read this, pause for a moment to take in the sounds around you.
Listen to the near sounds, maybe the hum of electronics or a clock ticking.
Listen further out, and maybe you hear a car passing or a dog barking.
Now remove all of those sounds so there is absolute silence, as if you are in a vacuum.
That is sunrise at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park.
Way. Up. There.
We woke up with a vague plan of we have to get out and see as much as we can before the triple digit heat.
Sunrise is the coolest way to start in the middle of the Mojave Desert, so Jim raced Mother Nature driving from our campsite at Stovepipe Wells to Badwater Basin where we set up our bag chairs and tripod.
6:30 a.m. – it’s now 80 degrees in the shade and climbing rapidly.
We sipped coffee at the lowest elevation in the country at 282 feet below sea level. For a few moments we enjoyed the most still and serene place I’ve experienced. It was void of human noise – no cars or airplanes, no voices or footsteps, and void of sounds from nature – no leaves to rustle, no birds or chipmunks.
It was so quiet we both started to notice a ringing in our ears, a stark contrast to the world we live in filled with so much noise pollution.
Badwater Basin is a massive expanse of white made up of almost pure table salt covering an area that used to be a lake. The two-inch average annual rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150-inch annual evaporation rate.
In less than a day we experienced both the highest point in the contiguous U.S. and lowest point in North America.
Temperatures are rising, we have to keep moving – on our way to the Devil’s Golf Course.