Our last visit to Death Valley National Park was in 2010, before we had a Motor home (and while I was still shooting black and white film and chromes in my Hasselblad). We had to delay that particular trip as a storm had knocked out the power in our town and our basement flooded. But we had eight days and we discovered that was nowhere near long enough!
So we planned a visit for sixteen days this time and it still wasn’t enough! So we will be back and for even longer next time (not that daytime temperatures in the 70s is a problem in February!). We stayed at Fiddler’s Campground (Xanterra) although no hook-ups, the dump station was just outside of the campground – but we did get to enjoy their swimming pool, naturally heated to 85F by a local hot spring!
This was also my first visit with my Nikons so it was really exciting. We did the traditional sunrise at Zabriskie Point (spectacular) but also the less covered sunrise from Dante’s View (fantastic).
Sunrise , Manly Beacon, Zabriskie Point
Death Valley Sunrise from Dante’s View
Panorama of Sunrise from Dante’s View looking East
Detail from “Panorama of Sunrise from Dante’s View looking East”
We also were surprised in Dante’s View carpark by a rather tame sporting bird (origins in the Middle East) who came when called to, just like a cat or dog – obviously very used to humans who unfortunately have been feeding him.
Chukar (Alectoris chukar)
Snowflake also enjoyed a couple of trails on some of the many unmaintained roads (4×4 HCVs).
Echo Canyon Trail for 4X4 HCVs (Snowflake Exceeds)
She performed admirably except for a puncture. That is when we discovered that the spare wasn’t a full sized spare – who, in their right minds, would supply a Land Rover with a donut spare?!?!?!?! This did curtail some of our activity as I knew the speed limit for the donut was 50 mph, but I did not know about the distance limit of 120 miles. But we will resolve this issue next week and have a full sized spare.
The visit to the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (282′ below sea level) Badwater Salt Flats was rewarded with a rain storm. The rain would fall, land on us but we were instantly dry! And YES we did see the rainbow! Nearly a double.
Badwater Salt Flats, Death Valley
Panorama of Storm with God Beams passing over Badwater Salt Flats, Death Valley
Detail from “Panorama of Storm with God Beams passing over Badwater Salt Flats, Death Valley”
Rainbow at Badwater Salt Flats, Death Valley
The hike around the Ubehebe volcano was great fun and provided a whole new series of erosion patterns on the lava rock.
Ubehebe Volcano trail, Death Valley National Park
Unfortunately we didn’t have our golf clubs with us, so we could only look in search of the first green at The Devil’s Golf Course
The Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley (282′ BELOW Sea level!)
Gear: Nikon D800, Nikkor 80.0-400.0mm f/4.5-5.6 VRIII, Nikkor 24.0-70.0mm f/2.8, Nikkor 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5, RRS tripod & Ball-head, Lexar Digital Film, Land Rover LR2