Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Death Valley

I spent a glorious weekend out at Death Valley with the Boy Scouts. This was my first visit. Death Valley gets an average of about 2" of rain a year, but by the end of this week they expect to have 3". I'm fairly certain I got a rare experience. Though there was plenty of rain, it really didn't cause many problems.

We arrived Friday evening with just a few sprinkles while we set up camp. The camp site had room for lots of campers, but hardly anyone was there.

We spent Saturday morning on the Mesquite Sand Dunes. The sand was damp, so it did not behave the way the boys expected. It was funny watching them run and jump and NOT slide down the hill as they expected. We covered a lot of ground though and managed to climb the highest dune. The boys went in a bee line from peak to peak, down then up. I circled around a bit to follow the crest lines and avoid the steeper climbs.

Mosaic Canyon was incredible. The walls of the canyon are smooth marble-like rock. It was like walking through a naturally carved marble bathroom. Since it had been raining, the rock could be quite slick, but I didn't hear about anyone from our group falling.

It started raining fairly hard about dinner time, but our cook managed it. We ate a fabulous dinner of trout, green beans and rice. Another family brought home-made fudge that was so good I would have happy eaten it until I got sick. Most of us retired to our tents to stay out of the rain. The following morning there was a nice stream running behind our camp site. A few light sprinkles fell.

We visited several locations including Badwater, the Natural Bridge, Artists Drive and the Borax works. We stopped in at the general store and visitors center in Furnace Creek to buy a few souvenirs. Badwater is the lowest point on land in the Americas, at 282 feet below sea level. The cliff behind it had a sign showing sea level - very cool.