Saturday 17th September


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Published: September 18th 2016
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Well here we are at Death Valley and it is very HOT. At 5pm we were stood outside the Furnace Creek visitor centre next to a thermometer reading 114 °F which I think equates to 46°C.

The day began nice and early as we had been told it would be be better to get through Las Vegas before the rush hour started. It didn't occur to us that it was actually a Saturday - us travellers have no idea what day it is. Anyway we were unhooked and underway by just after 7.30am. It was quite busy on the roads and it took us nearly an hour to get out of Las Vegas, it's a very big place! Then all of a sudden we were in open countryside, although that doesn't really describe the terrain we were travelling through. Almost immediately we could see the red rocks and hilly terrain of our first destination - Red Rock Canyon. We paid our $7 at the ticket booth and firstly went into the visitors centre where there were some interesting displays and in an outside area some huge tortoises. They apparently live in the wild here, but these were rescued ones. We then drove along the 13 mile scenic drive where there were various parking lots to stop and admire the views and hike trails. We couldn't stop at some as being a Saturday it was quite busy and they were full, but we visited four different spots and had a short walk from one to see ancient pictograms on the rock face. By 11.30 it was getting very hot so we decided to resume our journey to Death Valley.

The road was now as straight ahead as you could see and the scenery was very barren,dry and desolate. There was very little traffic and we eventually reached death valley junction and not long after we were in the National Park. We decided to visit Dante's View as it said in the info I picked up as we entered the park that it was a paved road open to vehicles less than 25 ft ( we are 22) . It was a 13 mile long road which climbed at first steadily and finally with sharp hairpin bends to a magnificent viewpoint. It is more than 5000ft above the floor of death valley and the views were breathtaking. We then stopped at Zabriskie point which was again magnificent, but due to its lower elevation it was sizzlingly hot so we just took our photos quickly and headed back to the cool interior of Ellie.

We then drove to the Furnace Creek visitor centre to pay our National park fee and then to the campsite just up the road. We have been warned it will be even hotter tomorrow, so it could be another early start before returning to base camp for a chill as we are staying here for two nights.

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