Yup, its hot

What a wild place! On the surface, there appears to be absolutely nothing. But Death Valley is rich with history, interesting geography and holds several records:
The hottest and driest place in North America.
It contains the worlds largest supply of borax.
The hottest temperature on Earth was recorded here.
It is also the largest National Park in the lower 48.
Death Valley is considered the most inhospitable environment in North America. Better go check it out!
Might as well start here, Zabriskie Point. These cool formations are from seismic activity that pushed up what was once the bottom of lake. Rainstorms eroded away the material leaving these formations behind. The black layers are from lava that used to stream out of the ground in this area.
It must have taken a very long time for the rain to erode all these valleys because Death Valley typically gets less than 5cm of rain per year. Some years, it doesn’t rain at all, not a single drop for the entire year. For comparisons sake, Calgary will get well over 30cm of rainfall each year, Vancouver gets over 120cm.
I swear, I take all my photos myself!!!! Back during the California gold rush, a group of prospectors got lost in this valley for over a month. They had to resort to eating their own oxen to stay alive. When they finally found their way out, they said, “so long Death Valley” and the name has stuck.
This sign isn’t kidding (although it didn’t stop me either). The average temperature in Death Valley is 48.8C. The hottest ever recorded here, 56.7C. Fortunately for us, we went in the cool evening, when it was only 43C outside. Yup, it’s hot here.
Might as well go exploring. Death Valley is home to over 189 minerals so naturally it has been a popular spot for mining operations. This first mining claims in the valley date back as far as 1882.
Panorama of the viewpoint we are hiking up to.
Borax was the most common mineral mined from Death Valley. It would take a team of 18 mules and 2 horses 30 days to travel the 310 miles to the Mojave train station with their loads of Borax. To this day, these 20 mule teams are featured on the front of boxes of Borax.
In 1976 a law was passed that prevented any new prospecting in the valley but mining was still allowed. Even today, some privately held mining claims still mine within the park. Surprisingly, it was the Borax company that originally proposed that Death Valley become a protected park. That didn’t happen until 1994!
Something I didn’t know about visiting a desert….. You would think a breeze in the evening would be a nice way to cool off from the oppressive heat. And if you are like me, would be totally wrong. The wind in Death Valley is hot, it feels like standing in front of a furnace. That may also explain the name of the area… Furnace creek.
Traditional, sweaty summit selfie. You actually don’t get too sweaty in this kind of heat. It is so incredibly dry it just quickly evaporates.
Behind the scenes of the now infamous summit selfie ?
Death Valley has been the backdrop to well over 50 movies but only one really matters… The original Star Wars series was filmed here.
The roads in Death Valley are spectacular. It would be a nice place to bring a fast car…. And stay below the speed limit of course.
Although you wouldn’t want your car to break down out here. It would make for a very uncomfortable time. We placed a flat of water in the trunk…. Just-in-case.
Just down the road is the Artists Pallet. The different colors are due to oxidation of minerals in the soil. The minerals were originally created by volcanic eruptions. These hills contain aluminium, titanium and magnesium. I’m told the color changes depending on the time of day and with rainfall. I didn’t feel like waiting for the next rain to find out, which could be over a year away.
When it is time to leave, why not treat yourself to an oasis in the middle of the most inhospitable place in North America. Only 500USD per night.
For 500USD per night I decide to keep driving. More specifically, my finances decide I keep driving.
Bonus night picture. You may think it cools off at night… and you would be right, it is a brisk 38C at 7:30pm. Well after sunset.

1 Comment

Chris · April 13, 2020 at 12:00 am

Thank u Shawn. Luv u adventures. Gets me out of this cabin fever.

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