Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019 at Death Valley

As soon as our Wednesday morning Ph 5/6 Workshop session at Leisure World Rec #2 was finished, we took off for Pahrump with Marlyn & Michele.  We arrived after dark & we got settled in.  There had been some snow in the pass between Las Vegas & Pahrump, but it was only for a few minutes & then light drizzle.  But it was certainly cold!!

We woke up to seeing snow on the mountains from our Air BNB in Pahrump, but there was not any snow on the mountains in Death Valley as we drove Hwy 190 into Death Valley NP.  Although there were low level clouds, the colors of the mountains were in full glory.  We enjoyed the short loop through 20 Mule Team Canyon & the view from Zabriskie Point was amazing.

Tiny white dot is a sign on the mountain marking Sea level.  The ground here is 282' below.

We made a short stop at Furnace Creek Visitor's Center & then headed down to the Badwater Basin to take a walk at one of the lowest points in the World.  It was still lightly drizzling, but we walked for a while out on the salt flat.

 From there, we drove through Artists Drive for a view of the amazing palette of colors & then to see the crazy Devil's Golf Course.

Our Thanksgiving Day was completed with Happy Hour drinks & then a special Thanksgiving dinner at the Inn of Death Valley.  It was an amazing evening.  The food & the setting were something to really be thankful for!  Even the walk through the tunnel back to the parking lot was interesting.

 Friday morning dawned a bit cloudy, but it continued to get better & better as the day progressed.  Our first stop at the Ash Meadows Natural Wildlife Reserve set the standard as we got a look at the famous Desert Pupfish in a warm sulphur pool along the Boardwalk at Point of Rocks.

 We made another stop at the Zabriskie Viewpoint & although it was lovely to have sunshine, the colors of the mountains was much more muted & there were a ton more people!

 The Ranch area of the park has a really neat Borax Museum with lots of examples of the equipment used during the days of Borax mining, including some of the original 20 Mule Team carts.  Amazing to see this stuff after so many years of seeing it on TV!

 We went on to the Harmony Borax Works to see the actual site of the processing "plant."

 We made another short stop at the Salt Creek Interpretive walk, hoping to see more of the Pupfish, but they were illusive & we only got to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

 We ended our visit to Death Valley with a look at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.  Didn't walk out too far as we wanted to leave the park in daylight.

We decided to take the longer route home to see the other pass out of the park, so drove the Daybreak pass out north to Beatty.  Made it over the pass before sunset & it was magnificent.  Even got to see some wild burros as we passed through Beatty.

We stopped for dinner in Pahrump at the well recommended Mom's Diner & it lived up to it's reputation!  Food & service were great!  And it cost less than the tip for our special Thanksgiving Meal at the Death Valley Inn!!  But no regrets - both were wonderful!  Nothing left of this adventure except our drive home to Mesa tomorrow morning!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!!