Just the name of this valley might make you want to stay away. This is North America'a driest and hottest spot, with less that 2 inches of rainfall annually, and a record high of 134 degrees. But remember my husband and I want to see all nine of California's national parks this year? In the spirit of travel, and seeing new places, we put it on the calendar to go with a few of Riley's Canadian friends from work. I invited my brother as well, he is living just outside of Vegas, so his trip was much shorter than ours from the bay area. Lucky!
This whole weekend was Riley's jam. Off roading in his jeep, spending time with other guys who appreciate cars and a crazy time out on the trails. He was in heaven. I on the other hand will start with a disclaimer. I really want to be truthful about experiences while I encourage people to see new places, because photos show highlights. Please don't get discouraged if your travels aren't perfect. This time, there were many discomforts to say the least. The weather got up to 94 degrees on our last day, the road we found ourselves on for wayyy too long was the worst wash board pattern I have ever seen/experienced. Our day hike left most of us with sore knees, hips, feet, etc (are we getting old??). And I ended up with some not so flattering sunburns, despite my vigilant attempts to avoid them. The eight hour drive home, through a wind and rain storm, arriving back at 12:30am was the icing on the cake.
Stuff like this happens all of the time. I don't report it much because it gets buried by the amazing memories made. The discomforts turn into funny stories, and the trip always turns out to be a good time. That's why I keep saying it: go and see new places. No matter what happens, I can promise you it is worth it. We had many laughs, watched the stars, felt the warm, powerful breeze sweep across the salt flats. We drove through uninhabitable land, for hours, seeing a new corner of the world.
"Experience is the teacher of all things"
I love coming home with my pictures, my sweet memories, and more experiences shared with Riley. Building a life together is the most fun I have ever had. And seeing him in all of his jeep glory was pretty adorable :)
Here are my favorite things that we did or saw in Death Valley, my highlights:
- Arriving on the first night to a steak dinner and friends at the campsite
- Seeing "the racetrack" and its mysterious sliding rocks
- Watching Riley and his friends rescue a lady in the middle of nowhere by changing her tire out in record time. I love witnessing random acts of kindness!
- Dark skies FULL of stars
- Bottomless cups of coffee every morning thanks to our friends
- The salt flats, parts of it looked like ice but it was 90 degrees! SO strange and cool to see
- Waking up before sunrise and getting to the sand dunes to see that first light
- Sleeping in our little "home" (our half dome tent)
- Hiking to telescope peak (there was snow up there!) and having our surprise champagne at the top
I will never forger this trip or the memories made. Our time living in Death Valley was one for the books.
"Life wasn't meant to be lived in one place"