After a few winding roads… well, a lot of winding roads and road 155 closed for no reason (American way of staying safe, as it will probably snow soon), we managed to drive to Death Valley coming from Sequoia NP through Bakersfield. This gave us the chance to admire the extensive oilfields and refineries neighboring the forests of tangerines, lemons and oranges. We even dared to eat a couple of them, but disappointment! – no taste of crude oil at all.
It was probably the best time of the year to visit the Death Valley, as the temperature was around 20 deg. Celsius, and the sun was not burning that hot. As we entered through the west side, we decided to fuel up ($3.58/gal), afraid of the high prices of gas that were advertised on several blogs. Then we safely ventured into the long, straight roads, mostly empty, going up and down all the way to Stovepipe Wells. That’s when we had our first stop and a good welcome +map. There we hiked the Mosaic Canyon till we decide to go back to the car. We were impressed by the swimming pool and showers for only $4, and towels included, unlimited entrance till midnight. Swimming pool in the open air, in the desert? Who knew?! We obviously had another shower on the way to the camp site, but first we checked the visitor center at the Furnace creek and the ore mine right before the center. Well… impressively dry, sandy and colorful.
The next day we hiked the dunes @Mesquite flat early morning and drove to the lowest point in North America: the Badwater basin. Which is not formed by an extinct river or lake as it looks! It is quite something to know you’re 85m under the sea level. The road ended there due to some recent flash flood (quite common there), therefore we drove back taking another scenic road to the painted hills. We enjoyed the moment as the sun set over the colorful spikes, but had no time to catch a nice picture. The last day we saved for Hell’s gate, David’s view, and the drive to the next sleeping place out of the NP.
There was gas at the Stovepipe Wells station for $3.54/gal, and we didn’t need much anyway. However, our minivan/family car was not able to tackle the unpaved roads there so we decided to skip a few of the attractions. We left some hikes for the next time as well.