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Adding a Little Death (Valley) to Doomsday

Where: Death Valley [map]
December 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM | by | ()

So on this day of all days, we figured it would be appropriate to tell you about our journey into death, Death Valley, that is.

A visit here has been on our list for a while, but we always found an excuse NOT to go. Now, after finally visiting, we find ourselves using every excuse we can think of to return! The little over two hour drive from The Strip keeps a lot of tourists away (except those from California), but even with the drive, we found it was totally worth every second.

If you think you've seen everything after trekking out to Valley of Fire let us say, firmly, that is not the case! Death Valley has unique characteristics that this Chatter'er has never seen before. The Artist's Palette (pictured above) is just one example of how this landscape boggles the mind. The colors are beautiful, especially in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we started our day there and never doubled back, but have heard the colors are enhanced in the sunset.

One of the nicest aspects of Death Valley is that most stops are accessible by vehicle and require very little walking, so those with limitations are still able to enjoy everything. That includes our next stop, Badwater Basin, one of the coolest things you will ever see. A spring-fed lake bed that is unable to hold water due to the high evaporation rate, leads to the crystallization of salt, essentially making the basin one giant salt flat. The interesting shapes and furry like textures along with the fact that it is the lowest elevation in North America (-282 ft), technically below sea level, adds to the appeal. We spent a good amount of time wandering around this stop where you get some really neat views, and great pictures of the surrounding high points.

Next, heading almost 6,000 feet straight up from Badwater Basin, we hit the lookout point at Dante's View. It gives you a fantastic view of the whole area, which is quite inspiring, and helps you understand exactly how the area formed the way it did. There are a few picnic tables here, where we stopped to enjoy a lunch. One additional thing we should mention -- bring food, lots of water, and ensure your car has lots of gas. While there are a few scarce facilities located in Death Valley, you will pay a significant premium. This national park is HUGE, there is NO cell reception in most of Death Valley and, if you head to a less frequented area and have trouble, you could be there a while!

After lunch, our last stop before heading back to drink the night away on The Strip, was at the comically named Devil's Golf Course (pictured below). The joke being that the land is so rough and treacherous that only the Devil himself could enjoy playing golf there. From this stop, you can walk out into the formations and really enjoy the uniqueness of it all. A note about this stop and a few others in Death Valley is that they tend to close these sections when it rains. It doesn't rain often in Death Valley, but in the off chance it is, you might want to pick a different day to tour around.

At $20 per car load for a full seven-day pass, we will be returning to Death Valley on our next adventure spree. There was so much we were unable to see in our one short day there, specifically The Racetrack and Scotty's Castle, so when we return we will bring you further tales of the fun times to be had.

Have you ventured out to Death Valley? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!

[Photos: National Park Service]

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