We arrived in Lone Pine, California for our third night on the road, and found ourselves in a rustic campground with a gorgeous, front row view of the Eastern Sierra. Gazing up at Mount Whitney, California’s highest point, brought back August memories of our month long journey hiking the John Muir Trail.
The following three days provided a stark contrast as we entered Death Valley National Park, home of the lowest point in North America. The park also claims the hottest recorded temperature on earth (134 degrees F…57 degrees C) on July 10, 1913. Fortunately, our weather was far more enjoyable.
The valley’s 600 foot deep hole known as the Ubehebe Crater is the result of a 2,000 year old steam and gas explosion caused by rising magma coming into contact with groundwater. A gravel path led us on a 1.5 mile walk up and around the perimeter. A different path plunged down to the bottom where we saw a handful of hikers facing a steep climb back to the top.
Not content to simply gaze over a scenic canyon from the Zabriskie Viewpoint, we headed down the trail with the intention of doing a loop hike. The rock formations were spectacular, showing off in varying shades of browns and reds. If you squint, you can see Reg standing on the two-sided drop-off trail in the bottom right photo. We crossed that segment very carefully! As the afternoon wore on, the trail failed to loop us back to our starting point. Tired and hot, we called it a day and retraced our steps back to the car.
After two nights in Death Valley, it was time to packed up and hit the road.
Next stop: Sedona, Arizona