Thursday, April 4, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: Pahrump Nevada to Death Valley, California

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This drive was done on March 11, 2013.

In February of 1933, Death Valley was made a National Monument by President Herbert Hoover. In 1994, the area was re-designated as a National Park.  It covers an area of about 3,000 square miles.  According to the National Parks Service web site, "Death Valley is about 140 miles long, from the head of Last Chance Canyon in the north to where the Amargosa River makes its big bend near Saratoga Springs in the south."  We had 3 days and nights to see what we could, that is a LOT of territory to cover.  No, we did not see it all, but we sure gave it the ole college try!

On March 8, there had been rain in the Valley and in Pahrump and in points east and west.  Quite a bit of rain too. On Sunday March 10th I checked the National Park Death Valley web site and found that a number of the roads were closed due to flooding and debris on the roadways.  The main road through the park, 190, was not closed. We had reservations that could not be changed nor extended so we were going to the park, rain or no rain, and would see what we could and just deal with it.  We were also going into "no cell phone or internet" territory.  Below, my iPad GPS program, showing that I have NO connection whatsoever, and we were not even IN the park yet!

The light is harsh, bright, blinding in this area.  It is hard to get photos that are not washed out.  I have edited some of these photos, some cropping, some darkening, some contrast.  They are still lacking color, but, then, again, there is not a lot of color here, beige, whites, tans, now and then some dark almost black, but, for the most part, very little color.  And, very little vegetation.

We started out our drive from Pahrump to Death Valley at an elevation of about 2700 feet above sea level.  Before the day was over we climbed to about 2958 feet and drove some more till we were about 230 feet below sea level.  We will drive about 90 miles from Pahrump to Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley.  Stovepipe Wells (basically at sea level) is located somewhat in the middle of the park, and will give us good access to the areas of the park we are interested in visiting.

As always, in this part of the USA, we find a variety of interesting land forms, like this HUGE mesa.

No trees, sparse vegetation, slabs of rock at strange angles, and a long, long road.

Well, what have we here?  Yes, indeedy, some wild flowers blooming at the side of the road, yellow and wonderful!  No place to pull over to take a photo, so this 55 MPH one will have to do.

Look at the striking white and almost black in these land forms.

There seems to be a tiny bit of red up there in those hills.  And, look at the subtle designs, almost like sand art we do with our children at the local fairs.

The road goes down further and further in elevation, as the land forms continue to amaze, here on the left almost black round rocks, on the right, a much smoother surface on the hills.

Maybe a wee bit of red in there, in the background.  Mid photo, look at the lighter forms, looking like sand dunes, and in front of the "sand dunes" rocks protruding out of the top of darker sections.  My head was spinning in delight.

The "white" hills in the front are not soft sand.  If you investigate (as in touch) you will discover they are rock hard, they just look "soft".  As always, the contrasts are the story!

Cleaning up the road after the rain fall from March 8th.

Sea level!!  Death Valley floor and beyond, mountains covered in snow!  One of those peaks goes to about 11,000 feet!

The sign says, Flooded.

I suppose it was on March 8th during the storm, but, by Monday about noon, this was all that was left. That said, this was about the only place we would see water standing/running on the roadways during our visit.  The park had many roads closed/blocked when we arrived, but they did not stay closed long.  The park service does a wonderful job at getting the roads cleared of debris and sand and washouts.

Miles and miles of desolate roadway.  Note, there is almost no vegetation here.  Just beige and road and heat and flat and sand and - - - can you imagine traversing this on horseback, in 100 degree heat?  I cannot!

Tana, Jolly, our campsite at Stovepipe Wells.  There are only 12 full hookup sites here, we were so lucky to have snagged one.  The temperature would reach over 90 degrees before we left Death Valley (in mid-March)!  Yes, I do so love my air conditioning!

I will continue to bring you posts from all the sights of Death Valley.  Yes, I took hundreds of photos, ok, I took well over 1,200 photos in 3 days.  I actually stopped counting!  So, come on back and I'll share more of Death Valley with you.  No, NOT all 1,200 photos!  Just a few - -


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