Our route today took us from the big city of Las Vegas to the hamlet of Stovepipe Wells in the Death Valley National Park. It’s another tiny settlement consisting of a motel, store, restaurant, saloon and an RV park. It’s a bit theme-y, but we found it fun and quite charming.
We started our day by visiting a stunning viewpoint. ‘Dante’s View’ is at 5475 feet above sea level – that’s 1000 feet higher than the top of Ben Nevis, yet you can drive right to the top! There are views right across Death Valley and we got some great pictures – including our blog header!
From Dante’s View at 5475 feet, we drove to Badwater at -282 feet. It’s the lowest point on land in the USA or the Western Hemisphere. There’s even a sign high up above on the valley wall marking sea level [can you see the white line in this photo?]
Badwater gets its name from the Badwater Pool – a very salty spring which has created an extensive salt flat.
We had to have a go at some perspective photos, although we were the only ones doing so – perhaps it’s a British thing?
You might expect that Death Valley is going to be very hot at all times. Not so! We were there in November and it was pleasantly mild.
After Badwater we took the scenic ‘Artist’s Drive’ back towards Stovepipe Wells.
We had dinner at the restaurant (which was much better than the guidebook suggested – Lonely Planet, take note, the business has changed hands since your last update) and settled into the bar for the evening to watch the Sunday night football.
Everyone was very friendly and we got chatting to the owner and the barmaid. This led to Jenny asking about one of the novelty bottles decorating the bar – a black glass skull decorated with Dia de los Muertos-style patterns. It turned out to be ‘Ka’ tequila and the owner offered us a taster. It was very good tequila and Jenny ended up having two glasses (one was bought by a member from a group of British cyclists who were doing a charity circuit of Death Valley). This wasn’t perhaps one of the best laid plans…
Please see the gallery for more photos! (NB: click on the photos for larger versions/slideshow.)
The date was 6 November 2011. Next day – Day 7: Desert to Mountain.