. It’s a good thing we got an early start to our day, because the temps just keep rising.
Zabriskie Point – Neapolitan ice cream! Wow, yet another expansive view and different from the other sights. I won’t even try to retell the geologic story of the ancient lake, seismic activity, lava and gravel wash, but the end result is really incredible.
A short walk from the Jeep put us on a point with wide bands of brown, pink and tan, sharp jagged edges above and smooth folds of the former lake bottom below.
Death Valley isn’t just one thing. It’s so many different textures and landscapes – sand dunes, mud stone, sediment, snow capped mountains, lava river, salt crystals, rock fields, below sea level to over 11,000 feet elevation. It’s scenery that inspires awe and it all changes colors with the morning, afternoon, and evening sun.
After Zabriskie Point we drove through Twenty Mule Canyon which looked like huge mounds from a construction site, probably because this is where they mined borax.
10:45 a.m. – 96 degrees.
Average high this time of year is 106 degrees and I don’t care what they say about ‘dry heat’. Hot is hot. We had originally planned to stay in Stovepipe Wells for one night, but with a nice campsite with 50amp electric (both A/C units going!), more things to see and a flexible schedule we decided – why rush through this?
Reliable transportation. Check. Plenty of water. Check. Snacks. Check. Energy. Check. Cell phones. Check. Cell phone service. HAHAA not even close.
We continued on through Furnace Creek (the names of the cities give some hint about the conditions in Death Valley) to Rhyolite, the largest ghost town in the Death Valley area. At its peak in 1911 it had a population of 10,000 and like many ghost towns, it declined almost as rapidly as it started. A few shells of buildings are its legacy, along with many fenced-off mine shafts dotting the landscape.
1:30 p.m. – 103 degrees at five foot elevation.
We drove past miles and miles of flat rock fields and the real Hell’s Gate.
More than once recently we’ve noted that the Jeep really is the perfect vehicle for us, the 4WD and high ground clearance comes in handy all the time.
Time to go back to the RV and enjoy some of that nice cool air.