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2nd annual Death Valley National Park camping trip!

March 1, 2012

I’m not sure what gave Daniel and I the idea to camp Death Valley for the first time back in 2010. I know for a fact this was before our current National Park obsession had kicked in. Actually now that I think about it perhaps Death Valley is what started it all! Regardless of why we chose one of the driest, hottest, and most desolate places to pitch a tent, the park has become one of our favorite places to visit. We went back for our 2nd annual trip exactly one year later and have already planned to return for our third later this year.

The most amazing think about Death Valley is the diversity of the park. One would expect just an expansive monochromatic beige desert, but that is exactly the opposite of what you’ll find should you choose to visit. In the course of one long weekend we spent time wandering the salt flats of badwater basin (the lowest place in the U.S., at -255 feet below sea level), hiking marble lined canyons carved by centuries of water flow, we bundled up against near freezing temps 6,000 feet above the valley, and drove through the vertical walls of a granite canyon!

On the way out to Death Valley this year we detoured into Mojave National Preserve. We didn’t have much time to fully explore but have decided to make it a camping destination in the near future. There are amazing sand dunes, much larger than those in Death Valley and we can’t wait to get back & check it out.

On the way out of the park we were side tracked once again. This time by Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, which is just a short drive from the main park. We’d read about colorful oasis of natural springs in the middle of the harsh desert and wanted to see it for ourselves. We certainly weren’t disappointed by what we found. The skies that day were gloomy which made for a stunning backdrop to the turquoise and blue waters bubbling up from the ground below. The water starts out in the chilly mountains miles away and travels through underground fissures created by geothermal activity. By the time it surfaces the warm mineral rich waters serve as a perfect home for tiny pup-fish (many found only in the refuge) and flocks of birds. The natural environment is truly a magical thing!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 4:26 pm

    Sarah, these pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

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