When I told everyone that I was going to visit Death Valley in July when the temperature can be as high as 134 degrees F (or 57 degrees C), everyone asks me why? Let me walk you through my experience and you’ll see for yourself.
Road to Life?
As I was driving into Death Valley, I kept thinking about the name Death Valley. It sure sounds intimidating and uninviting, but as I ponder away I started absorbing the scenery around me. I realize that in death, life is born. Death is never scary. The road is long and unknown, but it’s not about the end of the road, it’s about the experience on the way. What you make of your experience, how you look at what’s surrounding you, and whether you see them one way or another. All of a sudden, in Death Valley, I see potential and life, beauty and perfection.
When I was driving through Death Valley, I noticed this cactus tree by the road that really stood out to me. I got out of the car to examine the cactus tree further, when I looked up to the sky by the tree, I see what the plant is seeing – it’s reaching for the beautiful blue sky above. I was the cactus for a few seconds knowing that no matter who or what you are, always reach for the sky.
I couldn’t resist stopping my car when I drove by this tree. Along the long roads it’s tough not to think and appreciate this tree’s perseverance in such tough conditions. This is a demonstration of how we can survive and still stand no matter how tough the surroundings are.
Lifeless or Lively?
Many would consider Death Valley lifeless but I see the opposite. This image is a testament that under extreme heat, there is still a crowd of party celebrating their very survival. As you admire the liveliness across the field, I’d say this is one of the most lively places of all places in its own unique way.
Tiny and Humbled
This may be a common view in Death Valley but its effect on me did not degrade throughout the day. I am reminded how tiny and humbled I am everytime I see it, it makes me stronger through the day when it was scorching hot. It’s places like this that makes one forget about trivial things and appreciate the accomplishment and beauty all around us.
The Painters Palette is a detour drive about an hour in total in Death Valley, but it was well worth it. Once you are at the top of one of the canyons, you get to see the artwork created by nature. The massive canyons are the palette of colors that are beyond imagination. As a creator the canyons are at the disposal to create stunning artwork we see in Death Valley.
Road to Badwater
Driving on the roads in Death Valley, believe it or not, turned out to be one of the most satisfying experiences of the trip. The view is expansive no matter which way you look. It’s hard not to check out the scenery when you’re in Death Valley. This road to Badwater Basin is amazing in its own way because it offers so much including desert on the side, wide and massive canyons in the back, and the interesting white basin color in the middle. Sometimes the best view is before you reach the destination.
The Golden Canyon is a little gem in Death Valley that turned out to be a pleasant surprise. With the temperature hovering at 132 degrees F, I had doubts about taking this hike in the Golden Canyon but I am glad I did in the end. The hike into the Canyon offers many detail of the canyon up close and personal that is different from seeing the canyon far away.
This is the trail in Golden Canyon as I hiked through it. The texture and rock formation of the canyon made by nature after hundreds of thousands of years, makes one appreciate the power and creativity of nature.
Sand Dune Mirage
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes was heaven to me for a Canadian like me who lives in the True North where you don’t see dunes everyday. When I set foot into the dunes, I immediately felt the heat under my feet. I wanted to explore around the dunes and realized that everything is not as close as you think it is. It already had this mirage effect on me, where time and distance is no longer the same.
As the day was winding down in Death Valley, I only had enough time left to make it to one more stop before I call it a day as it gets dark. I decided to visit Zabriskie’s Point and boy was I glad that I made that decision. I climbed to the top of Zabriskie Point as the sun was just setting. The sunset colors in the sky, mixed with amazing layers of canyon created this breathtaking scenery. This image is one of the reasons why I wanted to create this series of Death Valley, to offer its beauty to the world.
Well, 150 miles and 24 hours later from Las Vegas, I get to walk in the Mesquite Sand Dunes, climb to the top of the Artist’s Palette hills, explore the rock formation in Golden Canyon, last but not the least, I get to watch the amazing sunset at Zabriskie’s Point, all of which are once-in-a-life-time experience. So my response to the question of why visit Death Valley in July, I’d say why not?
Side Trip – Ash Meadows
Before arriving in Death Valley, I stopped by Ash Meadows for a couple of hours first. Ash Meadows is right outside and to the east of Death Valley. It is an oasis comparing to Death Valley with its supply of water in lakes. A good compromise and contrast to Death Valley, and a place worth visiting if you had extra time in your schedule. If your tight on time in your travel to Death Valley, I suggest that you skip Ash Meadows, because Death Valley has so much to offer to fit into a one-day schedule.
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