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Useless Stuff

Death Valley – Day 1

After returning from Anacapa Island, we drove the 5 hours to Death Valley. We stayed at The Ranch at Death Valley in Furnace Creek. The hotel is in a prime location although you definitely pay for it.

We woke up before dawn on Sunday morning and drove 15 minutes to a popular overlook named Zabriskie Point. There were a ton of photographers lined up with their fancy tripods waiting for the sunrise. I found a little spot and sat there with my flimsy tripod and and 8 year old camera and took a bunch of photos as the sun slowly rose over the eastern mountains.

Death Valley - Zabriskie 5_1

Around 9am, we headed back to the hotel to get our free breakfast. With the room costing approximately $350/night and dinners costing around $30 each, we were determined to take advantage of the free breakfast. After completing breakfast, we headed out to hike the Golden Canyon.

Death Valley Golden Canyon 1

The entire hike was 4.8 miles and had an elevation gain of 919 feet. The Gower Gulch trail was hiked to make a loop. The hiking GPS track is shown in the map below.

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After finishing the Golden Canyon hike around 12:30pm, we drove to the Devil’s Golf Course. This area has huge, jagged deposits of salt and mud. It’s frustrating just to walk over. Here’s a picture although I don’t think it really gives a sense of the weird salt structures.

Death Valley - Devils Golf Course

Our next stop was the Room Canyon Hike. This one was a little off the beaten path. We learned about it from a hiking guide book in the general store at the hotel. It was an interesting hike but I didn’t really get many good photos. In fact, the only photo I like from the hike were of these small flowers.

Death Valley - Bloom in Room Canyon 1

The following map shows our GPS track of the Room Canyon hike.

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We then drove to Artist’s Palette right around sunset. Artist’s Palette is a section of the mountains that has different shades of pink, purple, and green. Each color is associated with a given mineral. Red, pink, and yellow indicate iron, purple indicates manganese, and green indicates decomposition of tuff-derived mica.

Death Valley - Artists Palette 2

After sunset, we drove back to the hotel and ate a buffet-style dinner. Afterwards, we drove back to where we started the day, Zabriskie Point, for some night photography.

Death Valley - Star Trails at Zabriskie_1

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