We had a relatively short drive today from Stovepipe Wells in the Death Valley National Park through to Las Vegas but we had plenty of interesting stops on the way.
The first stop, at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, was only a short distance from our overnight hotel but was so unexpectedly different from all the surrounding landscape. It was a proper desert with shifting sand dunes in amongst the more arid and rough landscape of the rest of Death Valley.
Visiting the sand dunes had been an unexpected surprise but our next stop, Badwater Basin, was planned. At 282 feet below sea level Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the western hemisphere. It was interesting in a flat, salty, kind of place.
Once again the drive brought changing landscapes as we moved closer to Las Vegas. There was one final stop today that we made to the Red Rock Canyon, somewhere I had been about 12 years ago and was keen to revisit.
The canyon is about half an hour outside of Vegas but I’m not sure that many make it there but it is a fascinating place. As you can see from the pictures it is not just that the rods are red but there are layers of coloured rock making it seem like large dollops of sweets.
Today’s post is a but rushed as we are now in the adult Disneyland that is Vegas and we are out to see a show. More tomorrow.
Death Valley Pictures
Red Rock Canyon Pictures
Today was mostly taken up with travelling from Yosemite National Park to Stovepipe Wells Village in Death Valley National Park. A journey which took us from an elevation of 10,000 feet and zero degrees to zero feet and 30 degrees.
Before we left Yosemite we had one more landmark that we wanted to visit before leaving – Tunnel View. This is an elevated viewpoint looking across towards El Capitan on the left, Bridal veil falls on the right and Half Dome in the distance. Unfortunately for us the sun was in the wrong position for the best shot but it did look pretty atmospheric.
We left Yosemite via the Tioga Pass and it was amazing how quickly the landscape changed. We passed through the Inyo National Forest which was green and hemmed in with snow capped peaks to the side. Then via Mammoth Lakes where the ground started to flatten out and become more sandy.
Finally, over another set of hills and into Death Valley the hottest place on Earth, although fortunately today the temperature isn’t anywhere near the 56.7 degrees recorded to gain that record.
The place that we are staying really is in the middle of nowhere. This means that it is incredibly dark as there is no light pollution. Because of this I was looking forward to some star gazing but, as luck would have it, tonight is also a full moon so that might put a dampener on proceedings.