I’m so excited to share this specific post with you because it was a fun, although tiring, all-day hike kind of (day) trip. I did take a ton of photos but I managed to reduce the amount to about 60? A lot of them are doubles or different angles, so I will do my best to pick the best photos.
On March 9th, we got up around 7:30am. That’s early for me considering I went to sleep at 1am after our girls night out. We showered and started getting ready and I realized I had forgotten my hair dryer, and my comb so I was not having a great hair day unfortunately lol. We didn’t leave the house until nearly 10am for some breakfast at Einstein’s Bagels.
I got the Bacon, Avocado & Tomato bagel and it was delicious! I should have gotten two to be honest, it was smaller than I remember.
After our breakfast, we began our two hour road trip to Death Valley. Alex drove first and we switched halfway there and met up with his family and drove the rest of the way together. The drive seemed like forever but it was a nice sight and really refreshing driving through the desert mountains. Finally, we got to our first stop:
Death Valley National Park Welcome Sign
At this point we were officially in California! I think it was at this stop where I noticed how dry the air was. It wasn’t too hot at that point because it was cloudy that day. We really only stopped here to snap a pic of the welcome sign before heading to our next stop.
Zabriskie Point is basically a viewpoint of the badlands terrain. It’s a short walk on a paved hill, which I didn’t take a picture of, but it has a nice view of the canyons below. It is such a beautiful sight, I had never seen anything like it—lots of yellow and orange tones. I think they also have a starting trail head here, Badlands Loop, which connects to the Golden Canyon Trailhead, which I will share with you in a bit.
Zabriskie Point is an area of ancient lake beds from 5 to 10 million years ago. Volcanic ash settled at the bottom of the lake and seismic activity gradually pushed the layers upward and exposed them. And of course, rainstorms have eroded the rocks and have formed the landscape we see today.
One little scare that I had was when Alex and CL were already at the top, while I was walking up with Alex’s auntie and cousins. I do not* know why CL got upset, but he started running towards me. When I tried to hold my arms out for him, he tried to go to my right AWAY from me. He slipped and I literally had a mini heart attack like my son was about to fall down the hill! OMG! I had never been so scared!! I had to take a moment and tell him how scary and dangerous that was. He stayed by my side the rest of the time we were there.. Ahh…. this is how dangerous situations can get with a child who has SPD.. just saying…
Ok, so we were there for less than 10 minutes, just taking in the sights and taking some pictures. Unfortunately I didn’t ask for a family picture, that’s my bad! I was still so upset about CL almost falling! Anyway, Alex’s family took us to our next stop.
Golden Canyon Trailhead
We didn’t walk very far here because we still had some walking left at our next stop, but it was beautiful!! I have always wanted to hike through a canyon like this and now I cannot wait to hike other spots! This spot is where our water backpacks really came in handy. The heat was not as bad but the dry air made me feel so thirsty and nearly out of breath.
I think we must have walked for about 15 minutes in but stopped because Alex and his uncle decided to climb the rocks. He said it was a difficult climb and they were out of breath, but that it looked stunning up there. When they met up with us, we started heading back to the car for our next destination.
This place is unreal! It is the lowest point in all of North America at 282 feet (or 86 m) below sea level. Some say it is still sinking! There is some a small pool of water but it is called Badwater because it is unsuitable to drink as it is very salty.
FUN FACT #1: To have exposed land below sea level, a dry climate is necessary.
If I thought the hike at Golden Canyon was bad with the dry air, this was worse! It felt so dry that any bodily fluids evaporate almost immediately. My lips were the first to feel dry, then my entire mouth and eyes. I had to do my best to not breath in so deeply because it nearly made my chest feel tight. We walked about 30 or 40 minutes out to the salt beds but we didn’t make it. That walk, though flat, was so hard with how dry it was. I’m confident enough to say this is the hardest hike I’ve ever done.
FUN FACT #2: A dry climate evaporates water, leaving behind salt flats or briny lakes.
When we turned around the sun started coming out. It was about 78 degrees Fahrenheit but I swear it felt closer to 90 degrees or more. The walk back to the parking lot seemed never ending and with the sun starting to beat down on us I wasn’t sure if I could make it back. I was not prepared for such a dry climate. And drinking water only helped so much.
FUN FACT #3: Death Valley was not created by river erosion. Movements in the Earth’s crust have dropped it to such great depths.
That day, there were not as many people so it wasn’t crowded at all. In fact, Alex’s family were shocked at how empty it was. And another thing: March is the last month it is advised to go there because the temperatures start rising and are as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. I believe they advise to go between November and March, so keep that in mind if you ever decide to visit Death Valley.
Fun Facts are from National Park Service.
When we finally got back to the car, I was so relieved to have AC, lol. Alex’s family took us on a scenic drive before we left Death Valley and headed to their home.
Also known as Artist’s Palette because of the amazing colors of the mountains and canyons that you drive past about halfway into the drive. This scenic drive is about 9 miles one way. It has a lot of winding roads and dips, Alex had a blast driving through it, especially after driving in a real racetrack the day before.
The landscape is beautiful! I didn’t take as many photos for this but chose to do a time-lapse instead because the drive was so beautiful and I didn’t want to miss one second of it. They do have stops as you drive through, but I was feeling too tired, out of breath, super thirsty and lightheaded so staying in the car was probably the best option for me.
Follow my personal Instagram to see more photos of this trip and also for the timelapse when I eventually post it! 🙂 At the moment I’m behind but I will be posting everything.
If you ever are at Badwater Basin, I highly* suggest you drive back through here because this is something that must be seen! There are also other sights to be seen that we didn’t get a chance to see, such as The Race Track, Dante’s View, Devil’s Golf Course, and few other amazing spots that I would love to see. Perhaps next time I go back to Vegas, I can check out the other spots!
We spent the rest of the evening and part of the night at Alex’s family’s home. They are so welcoming and I could tell Alex had a lot of fun catching up with them. They were also very understanding of CL’s diagnosis, better than anyone else in our families, which made me feel comforted and understood.<3
I do have to say that the dry climate had lasting effects on me for the rest of the day no matter how much water I drank. My body felt weak and I attributed my light-headedness / headaches to the dry climate, but also lack of sleep. I was glad to feel better the morning after. Don’t forget to check out Day 1 of this trip here if you still haven’t, or you can also browse my other posts from my previous Vegas visit here.
Have you been to Death Valley yet?
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