Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon

We are now homeward bound after a great stay in Los Angeles. We will continue to see as many parks as possible on the way home starting with Death Valley. I have always wanted to visit the hottest and the lowest place in the U.S.. Gary was concerned that the car would over heat miles from anywhere so we drove slowly so as to avoid any problems.
At the visitor's centre we were greeted by a temperature of 118 degrees F. By the time we got out of the car and took a photograph the temperature had gone down a degree to 117 degrees F.

The scenery was not what I was expecting as I thought the valley would be sand and cactus. Instead it was sand, stone formations and salt beds.

About halfway into the valley we came across an oasis - a green area where there was a gas station, hotel, campground and a golf course. The golf course was the lowest in the U.S. as it was 214 feet below sea level.

 After visiting the oasis we came across Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the valley at 282 feet below sea level. It was called Badwater due to prospectors in the 1800s coming across a watering hole and attempting to drink the water. The water was too salty to drink hence the name Badwater.

To the side of the water was a dry salt bed that you could walk on. Prior to the walk was this sign-

It was about 3pm when we walked on the salt bed which meant we did not heed the warning.
The day after visiting Death Valley we journeyed to the Grand Canyon and got there late in the day after a long, hot drive. We decided to check into our hotel and then go and see the sunset over the Canyon. Unfortunately, the place we chose to watch the sunset was not the best as the sun was due to set behind some rocks. However, we stuck it out and noticed a storm brewing in the west. Hoping that it would not thunder and lighten which would mean leaving the canyon edge a.s.a.p. to avoid being struck by lightening, we waited with baited breath. My photo of sunset is not very good but here it is.

The above photo shows the approaching storm that luckily did not bother us.
Next day we got up early to see as much of the Canyon as possible as rain and storms were forecast in the afternoon (it was the monsoon season). We decided to go east first in the car and then go west on the shuttle bus.

The light for photos was not right so I hoped for better pictures after riding on the bus. However, it was not to be as we were 2/3 of the way to our destination when the skies clouded over and lightening was seen on the opposite side of the canyon. Our bus driver informed us that she had been told to take everyone back to the visitor's centre as a precaution. She told us that the rim of the canyon got struck by lightening 25,000 times each year and the Rangers did not want any calamities. So ended our trip to the Grand Canyon.
Our next trip was to one of my favourite National Parks - Bryce Canyon. It is unique among canyons.
It has columns called hoodoos in a variety of colours.

Well, again the weather was against us. During lunch the heavens opened and it poured down for about an hour which put an end to our seeing more of Bryce Canyon.
Next stop, Canyon Lands and Arches National Parks.