Death Valley National Park: The Hottest, Driest, Lowest Place in North America As Well As The Largest Park

5/25/15 Monday in Pahrump, NV (Preferred RV Resort-ROD)

Leaving the coach at 7:50, we arrived at Badwater Basin by 9. It was already 86 degrees there at that time. Because it’s the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (-282 feet below sea level), it’s also the hottest place. That’s why we went there first thing.

Badwater Basin: This region lies on major fault lines. It’s spreading apart, fracturing the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. Huge blocks of land tilt like seesaws as the dropping continues.  The image that looks like a hill lies behind the flat salt basin.  Just about the center of that hill is a sign indicating “Sea Level”, so you have an idea.  You can see our car parked below that sign, if you enlarge the photo (click on it).

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Artist’s Drive

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Golden Canyon

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Furnace Creek Ranch  Furnace Creek Ranch, a lovely green village near the Visitor Center, where we ate our lunch.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center  Furnace Creek Visitor Center which is where the official temperature is noted for Death Valley. This is the reading when we were there.

Harmony Borax Works (1883-1888): Of all the minerals mined in the Valley, only these provided wealth: gold, borax and talc. They refined the borax (separating the mineral from unwanted mud and salts) here, by dumping it into boiling tanks, adding carbonated soda. The borax dissolved and the lime and mud settled out. They drew off the borax liquid into cooling vats where it crystallized on hanging metal rods. Since it wouldn’t crystallize over 120 degrees, they didn’t work in the summer. The 20 (or so) mule team pulled caskets of borax and a large tank of water out of the valley.

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Zabriskie Point

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Dante’s View (of Death Valley), from left to right.  The last image is of Badwater Basin from this vantage point.

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Amargosa Opera House, where Marta Becket repaired and painted sets, then performed from the late 1960’s until 2012.  It’s open every day, at the Junction to Death Valley.

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Got to town around 3, stopping at Home Depot for more hose parts. Yesterday we had a knock on our door. Maintenance letting us know that they’d had a call- our hose had come apart and created quite the lake. Oops. Guess the other parts didn’t quite do the trick, until John did a better job of installing them today. While John worked on the hose, I got the stairs ready for the paint, Rustoleum’s Semi gloss enamel. He helped with the drop cloth while I got to spray. It looks very nice.

To celebrate our big Death Valley Day and Memorial Day, we cashed in our coupons at the Pahrump Nugget Casino. I got the free T shirt, John got extra slot play. I lost all my free slot play dollars while John “made” over $12 with his. Fair enough. We enjoyed a lovely buffet meal for only $9 total. They were having a Memorial Day special ($6.99 each) and John had a $5 coupon for food. We ate too much, but it was worth it.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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