After six days at Joshua Tree, I traveled north to Death Valley National Park, arriving there on Tuesday March 23rd.
When I arrived at Texas Springs Campground (sort of in the central portion of the park near Furnace Creek) it was almost full. It's one of those first-come, first-served self-check-in campgrounds, so you have to drive around and find an empty spot. It took a while but I pulled into what I thought was an open site at the same time as someone else pulled in to the one next to me. We looked at each other and said, “Hi neighbor!” But a few minutes later they pulled out and went to another spot. As I was standing there looking around, a little old lady (the 80-year old camp host) came up and told me I was in a handicap only site, so I had to move. She said there were only three empty sites left and told me where they were.
As I pulled into my next selected site, I saw that my new neighbors were actually the young couple that had pulled in beside me earlier. We looked at each other and laughed. They had gotten the last site that had a picnic table and fire ring. My site had nothing. But it was better than no site at all. Being nice neighbors, the young couple (Ian and Jennifer) invited me to join them at their table and campfire. They were very sweet and pleasant. We had a wonderful time sitting around the campfire in the evening and talking the night away, literally.
We were neighbors for Wednesday night also and once again they were gracious and companionable and we spent another evening talking around the campfire. By the time the night was over, we each knew quite a bit about the other. I spent two more nights at Texas Springs. On Friday night, Ian and Jennifer joined me at my camp site after spending Thursday in the back-country. (I had moved to a new site Thursday morning with a table and fire ring.) Thank you, Ian and Jennifer, for helping to make my evenings in Death Valley so enjoyable. It was great fun!
The Golden Mountains. Those two little vertical “lines” in the middle of the picture are people!
The Devil's Golf Course. Telescope Peak, in the background, is the highest peak (over 11,000 feet) in the Panamint Range that borders Death Valley on the west.
Close up view of the Devil's Golf Course. In 1934, it was determined that the salt and gravel beds of the Devil's Golf Course extend to a depth of more than 1,000 feet. Later studies suggest that in places the depth ranges up to 9,000 feet.
The salt flats at Badwater, which is the lowest point in Death Valley at 232 feet below sea level. Walking on the salt flats was strange. It looked like concrete but there was some “give” in each step. In several spots there were muddy pools of water where small holes had been made in the salt flat.