Sunday, September 6, 2009

Death Valley and Joshua Tree

Did we really go to Death Valley in the summer? Yes, and although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, I'm glad we went. After climbing Mt. Whitney and recouperating a little at the hotel in Lone Pine, we decided to drive the 100 miles into Death Valley National Park. I knew it would be hot (average day-time highs of around 110). What we didn't know is that there was actually a mountain pass of about 5000 feet we had to climb over. And that it was more like 120 the day we vistited. We turned off the air conditioning and even though the breeze made us hotter, the car did fine. It started to inch up on the temperature gauge but it never gave us any problems.

After seeing the sights of Death Valley (like Badwater as seen in the picture on the right) and cooling off a little in the air conditioned museum, we weren't sure what to do for the night. I had actually thought that it might cool off enough in the evening and night to camp in Death Valley (aren't deserts supposed to cool down fast?) but it was averaging close to 100 all night. So, we pressed on toward Joshua Tree National Park, another 275 miles Southwest. We got to see the worlds tallest thermometer in Baker, CA (on left - it was still over 100) and somewhere near Lucerne Valley, CA we saw a pretty large fireworks display while driving. We still don't know what they were for.

We camped on the North side of Joshua Tree the first night and pitched the tent under the full moon. Although it was still warm it was nothing like Death Valley. In the morning we got up early and toured the park, including a hike of Ryan Mountain (peak #22). Then we pitched our Kelty Carport shelter and created our own shade while waiting out the heat of the day. Jaimee and I hadn't used the Carport on this trip yet, and it worked great. In fact, we were able to rig it to cover the picnic table and even slept under it instead of pitching the tent.

The next morning we got up and headed further south, going to San Diego where we are now. We're staying with our friend Jennifer, whose family lives in Seattle. She was kind enough to host us even though we gave her very little notice. We're having a great time here, and will post about it with some pictures soon.

Here are the rest of the photos from Death Valley and Joshua Tree:

Death Valley and Joshua Tree

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