Surviving the sweltering heat of Death Valley

Over 40° Celsius or 104° Fahrenheit; in Death Valley that’s the rule rather than the exception. The highest temperature ever on earth was even recorded right in that very place: a sweltering 56,6° Celsius or 134° Fahrenheit. So to say it’s hot there would be an understatement.

Since this is pretty much a well-known fact, we made sure we didn’t arrive in Death Valley until after 5pm. This way we at least managed to avoid the scorching afternoon heat. We arrived from the east so obviously we went to sightsee everything in that area in the evening of our arrival, and then in the morning the rest of the viewpoints were on our list.

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On the road to thé scenic road -Badwater Road – of Death Valley there are already a few exits that you simply can’t miss. They require quite a bit of a detour, but they’re definitely worth it. The first viewpoint is called Dante’s View and it was my favorite view of Death Valley. From there you have a stunning view over the Badwater flat, as you can see in the picture right above here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it!

Beware of snakes though, because we stumbled across a rattle snake there and I’m sure you wouldn’t want  to step on one of those little creatures while you’re busy gazing over the view.

The next exit brought us to Zabriski Point.  This viewpoint doesn’t require a big a detour as Dante’s View and offers a closer look at the erosional landscape of Death Valley. Stunning!

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Since we had checked off all the viewpoints for the day earlier then anticipated, we decided to already hit a bit of the scenic road, Badwater road, of Death Valley. Sunset was supposedly the perfect time to go see Artist’s Palette so we of course couldn’t stop ourselves from driving all the way over there. And it was worth it. Look at how beautiful the different colors stand out! We were also all by ourselves in that place, and in my opinion that makes it always a bit more special.

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By the time the sun was gone, we were thoroughly overcooked and ready for the refreshment of the The Ranch af Furnace Creek which I’ve already told you all about.

The next morning we were up bright and early, hoping to beat the heat of the day again. We headed towards the Badwater flat, the lowest point in the US, to see the sunrise, but that wasn’t the very best option. Apparently the best view is at on Dante’s View where we were the evening before. But even if we had known, we probably wouldn’t have driven all the way back there as it was quite a detour. On a positive side, we were once again completely alone at the Badwater point (it being 5am in the morning might have something to do with that as well), so the atmosphere was really amazing.

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After a disappointing sunrise, we drove onward to Devil’s Golfcourse. This much rougher part of Death Valley was already bathing in sunlight, making it immediately more likable than the badwater flat.

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Next up were the sanddunes at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. By then it was already pretty hot out, we weren’t very keen on doing the hike through the dunes. But it was worth it to just stop and see the dictionary type desert view.

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After emptying our shoes of the sand that somehow still managed to get inside (How?!), we continued towards Mosaic Canyon. From there another hike departed, but we once again decided to only go a few hundred meters into the canyon to get a few impressions rather than walk the entire thing. If you look closely, you can see the mosaic on the rocks.

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The last viewpoint we had over Death Valley was Father Crowley Point. It’s another scenic view over the valley and a perfect way to say goodbye to this unique -but damn hot -place.

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When driving out of Death Valley the road seems to endlessly stretch out in front of you. It’s pretty amazing to see. And even though the drive ahead of us was quite long, it never once bored me.

To wrap this up, here are some things to keep in mind to survive the heat of Death Valley:

  • Make sure you have plenty (!) of water with you, especially if you go for a walk. You’ll need it;
  • Try to avoid the warmest hours of the day. If you want to go hiking, do it in the evening or early in the morning;
  • Watch out for rattle snakes or other sort-like creatures. You don’t want to get bitten by one of those little fellows;
  • Protect yourself against the sun. A hat/ cap and sunscreen are definitely needed here unless you want to look like a pretty lobster at the end of the day;
  • Don’t pretend to lose the keys of your car while in a deserted place late in the evening, your daughter won’t be able to appreciate it! (Yes, thank you for that little heart attack there, dad!)

And with that you’re all ready to hit the road to this amazing dessert place!

 

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