Death Valley National Park, California, USA
Death Valley is a place of extremes. A National Park that straddles the borders of California and Nevada states. It is the hottest and driest place in North America with temperatures that can reach over 50 degrees celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in the summer months. At other times of year, Death Valley is home to a number of different wildflowers and plants and the temperatures are cool enough to venture off the main track. The vastness of the place can be overwhelming.
Our visit was in July, we were driving through Death Valley on the mammoth 400 mile leg of our trip as we made our way from Las Vegas to Yosemite. As we entered the park, signs warned of extreme heat, we rolled down the windows to feel the blast of hot wind.
We stopped at Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America at 85metres below sea level. We parked up and walked across the wooden decking that took us out past the baking hot salt flats. We walked for only 20 minutes and already could feel out energy levels draining, the heat from the floor making it's way through our shoes making it uncomfortable to stand. Standing in the middle it was incredible to see the sheer vastness of this natural place, the silence was breathtaking. We headed back to the car, grateful for the blast of air con, and made our way to Artist's Drive.
Artist's Drive is a 9mile one-way road of looping trails that take you through amazing rock formations. We stopped at Artist's Palette to see the amazing colours on the rocks caused by chemical reactions with the different elements and minerals on the rocks.
The rest of our drive through Death Valley was spent marvelling out the window at the scenery that passed us by.
Death Valley is one of America's National Parks and costs $20 for a 7 day vehicle permit. The National Park Service is celebrating 100 years this year and it's work includes preserving and maintaining these beautiful places for future generations to enjoy.