We thought Death Valley would be really hot, dry, lifeless and a “dead” place. Now the summer and the hottest season are over, and tourists are slowly starting to arrive in Death Valley. The temperature was still pretty high for us Norwegians with 38 degrees Celsius. One of our first stops was Badwater with an altitude of 88.7 meters below sea level.
That makes it the lowest we have ever been on this planet, even lower than our deep dive on the scuba course we took years ago.
Death Valley was first seen by europeans on their way to the gold fields in California in the mid 18-hundred century. Then gold and other minerals were discovered in Death Valley and different mines were started up. One guy, Scotty, a con man, claimed he had a gold mine just to scam wealthy investors. Scotty was forgiven by Johnson, one of his investors, and they became friends. Johnsons built a ranch in Death Valley and Scotty lived and died on the ranch and today the ranch is just called Scotty’s Castle.
On our way to have a look at The Racetracks we passed through Teakettle Junction, but we did not have a teakettle to offer to the Gods of this junction. So fingers crossed that I can still have my tea in the morning… The Racetrack is not a place where cars are racing, but rocks.
The puzzle about these moving rocks has not been fully solved, but the main hypothesis is that the when the playa surface get wet and slippery the rocks slide with the wind.
From the Racetracks we drove over the Lippincott Pass, a narrow winding road with some washouts down into Saline Valley.We got down in the valley were we had a closer look at the salt flat and the remains of the salt mine that was operated here from 1903 until the 1930s.
In the middle of Death Valley we stumbled over an oasis with palm trees and hot springs. Wow.
That was one of the last things we expected, but a great surprise. It was a surreal experience to sit in a hot pool while enjoying the scenery of Death Valley. Later on Espengot a second bath at the Marble Springs.
In one of the most remote places in California someone have transported a bath tub out to the middle of nowhere and filled it up with blue marbles…… and ducks!!
Before leaving Death Valley we spent a night at Eureka Sand Dunes. The sand dunes rise up to 230 meters above ground in between the mountains. Waking up with the view of Sand Dunes was a great end to our stay in a park that surprised us with its great and varied nature and marks left by people with a good sense of humor.