Still jet lagged here and sleeping till 9 am which is unheard of for us. we are 6 am people - have to shake this off and reclaim my mornings.
We went for a little walk today and ended up walking for almost 2 hours. Still, it is good exercise and will help to burn off the calories for the Starbucks we carried round with us LOL.
I had a voucher from pat at school for my birthday and also popped into beales to spend it and bought something so perfect from her. I love Willow Tree angels and bought the Angel of Caring which is just such a perfect gift from Pat because she is such a carer, of everybody and is so good to me. There was also enough to but a lovely heart and dragonfly brooch so I am very happy.
I made another page of the holiday (am making a digi album as well as several paper mini books of different aspects)
I used this week's pencil lines sketch and the page explains how lovely the pool at the Hyatt was and how I swam each day at 6.30 am so I could then enjoy a guilt free breakfast.
Now - on to the next bit of my holiday.
We have wanted to go to death valley for a long time. We have been close but never been there and so this was the year.
I know - mad to go in the summer, but heck, that's us. I mean, if you are going to go to Death Valley you might as well go when it is warm, right!
We knew it would be hot – but boy were we unprepared.
I guess the realisation started to hit when we arrived at LAX and the imigration offer asked where we were going on our trip. Now I have to say we always feel the immigration officers in LA are the worst of anywhere in America. They never crack a smile and you always feel the gun is only a heartbeat away. We told him where we were staying for the first 5 days and then said we were off to Death Valley. ‘Really,’ he said, ‘Death valley …. In the summer? Really. You do know it will be hot right!’
Yeh – we knew.
Anyway, with plenty of water, a full tank of gas and not very high expectations, we set off for the valley itself.
We didn’t expect it to be very scenic, but we did want to see the hottest, driest, lowest place in the west. And we did.
The drive there was not terribly scenic and there were few cars once we passed Riverside.
We entered through the Panamint Springs entrance and were glad we were going down not up, as it was quite a descent. We stopped to take pictures in that first part of the valley of the dry sandbeds.
We then headed off to Stovepipe Wells. When we got out there it was HOT. The thermometer in the shade read 120 degrees so it was a fair bit more than that in the sun.
The thing we hadn’t been prepared for, which was so notable, was the wind. It was really really windy and it was scorching hot dry wind. It was like standing under a hairdryer on full heat. I don’t think I will ever forget the wind. This is Nij in our car - which we loved - and was great for driving off road on the unpaved tracks.
We headed off to the mesquite sand dunes next. Now I have a word of advice for anyone foolish enough to visit Death Valley in the summer, at a time when even the locals are saying it is hotter than normal. If you to see the sand dunes, wear trainers. Seriously.
I didn’t and I regret it.
I was wearing my summer hiking sandals. Really comfy – I can walk for miles in them. They are tough and rugged and … well sandals. Open. Exposing bare feet. You get the picture!
The ground is considerably hotter than the air. The guide book said it could be as much as 20 degrees hotter than the air. That puts the sand at somewhere about 150 degrees. That’s hot. That’s very hot when you walk on it in sandals and it fills them and burns your feet.
I ran across those dunes so fast. It was scorching and very painful and unpleasant.
The sand was so soft. I tried doing a ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and treading where Nigel had compacted the sand a little but the sand was so soft and dry (well it would be in that heat and wind wouldn’t it) that there was little for me to tread into.
However, it was beautiful and we had never seen proper desert sand dunes before. We have been in the desert a lot, but it has tended to be dry high desert with scrubby creosote bushes and rocks and not the pure sand at mesquite. We loved it. But not the hasty run back across them to the car!
We drove around other parts of the National Park, including seeing Hell’s Gate and Golden Canyon.
We then dropped down lower and lower and stopped at Devil’s Golf Course – so called because only the devil would play golf in such a crazy spot. There were calcified salt stack and as we were lower it was hotter. Really hard to be out of the car in the heat.
But we had a task to do there. There was no-one else around so it was the perfect place for our ‘mythbusters’ video. I can’t share the video yet – it’s not downloaded – but I can tell you what we did. I have no pride and so before we left the Hyatt in cold old Newport beach I asked if I could have 2 raw eggs. I explained why – saying I was a crazy English lady and off to Death Valley to see if you really can cook an egg on the pavement as it is so hot. So we took out one of the eggs and had a go and Nigel filmed our own episode of mythbusters.
What happened? Did it fry in that terrific heat? Did the egg cook? Well you will have to wait and see till the Nij Video episode is complete!
From there we headed off to Badwater, the lowest point in the US at 282 feet below sea level. (We have been lower as we have been to The Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley at over 1000 feet below sea level) It was an amazing landscape down there on the valley floor with dregs of water and acres and acres of salt crystals. Very bizarre and unbearably hot. It really wasn’t a place for hiking!
From there we did the very scenic and twisty turny Artist's Drive round Artist’s palette with the multi coloured rocks and then we made our way to our base for the night at Furnace Creek (how aptly named)
I will document Furnace Creek tomorrow LOL.
But here is a page I made for a challenge at PBP using a template about surviving Death Valley.
My quote for today is
Today I am thankful for
- My blog. I am pretty sure no-one but family reads it most days, but I love writing my on-line diary and looking back on it. It is the best therapy ever. And I have three years of memories stored away. Perfect.