Being as this is our first post and since it is winter, if we can call it that, in California, we decided to start this blog with our New Year’s camping trip to Death Valley (http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm ). For a while now we have wanted to go to Death Valley to explore its endless sand dunes, canyons and rocky valleys. As we drove down in the valley we could not believe how huge and grand it looked.
Being there felt like we were on another planet. The rock formations, the different ground textures you experience and its sunsets are unique in the world. For the size of the park, we were surprised to learn that campsites are few and most are busy so reservations are ideal. All who know us know that we love camping, but camping alone, we like to feel the space and openness of the area we are visiting. Death Valley has 9 campgrounds out of which 7 are really “in the valley”. For anyone who wants to feel the presence of a lot of people around them and the feel of a community, Furnace Creek, Texas Springs, Sunset and Stovepipe Wells campgrounds are ideal! They are close to a market and a place to get a bite to eat.
For us the further from restaurants or markets the better! If that’s what you are looking for then Mesquite Springs, Emigrant, or Wildrose are perfect! We stayed at Mesquite Springs campground, which is a deserted riverbank area with great access to hiking with a beautiful mountain range wrapped around.
During this trip champagne, steak, corn, English muffins, Canadian bacon and potatoes were on the menu. This is one of our less fancy campfire food choice (aka cold weather comfort food) but just as delicious. During the nights we were glad to have our rain fly over our tent due to the fast decrease in temperature toward the early morning. During the day our Burt’s Bees chapstick and water were our best friends. Please note if you are traveling with a dog as we often do, in this park you will want to keep them close to you and safely on leash, especially if you have a small-medium breed dog. Coyotes are very curious and will have no problem approaching you whether night or day.
We highly recommend Badwater Basin and Ubehebe Crater at sunset. Scotty’s Castle is a fun quick stop where you can read about the history and check out the Mission revival and Spanish architecture. The drive to the Racetrack with the sliding rocks is long but well worth it if you have some time to explore further that what you first see when you park. Do check out the famous sand dunes, but prepare to have a nice long walk if you want to see more of the sand and less of the bushes but your camera will thank you.
Learn about the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of Death Valley: http://www.nps.gov/deva/parkmgmt/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=129472