This is our second time visiting Death Valley, the first being the nine long, cold nights we spent here in late December/early January of 2009/10. It’s a little different this time around. Much larger crowds, which we don’t care for, but also much higher temperatures, which we appreciate.
We got a great site in Furnace Creek Campground, where they now have long paved sites big enough for any size RV. The perimeter sites with full hookups are angled such that we have a view of the mountains, not the site next to us. And they are fairly level, something we always have trouble with in the National Park campgrounds. Regular rate is $30/night, but with Jim’s senior pass we got a $9 discount. Very reasonable.
After getting settled in and eating lunch we walked over to the visitor center and adjacent Furnace Creek Ranch just to see what was there. Jim checked out the beer selection at the General Store, and it was all priced at $15-$16 a 6 pack. Luckily they didn’t have anything he likes. We were surprised that gas was “only” $3.19/gallon here, as it was even more than that in Baker. Fortunately I looked at Gas Buddy and found a station along our route before we got to Baker for $2.25. We’re finding gas prices all over the place in California.
Then we took a short drive to Golden Canyon for a late afternoon hike. So far we’ve seen lots of Desert Gold along the roads, but in the canyon there were just a few notch-leaf phacelia. I only know this because the park newspaper has photos of the ten most common Death Valley wildflowers. Now if I can just remember the names.
Phacelia. I read that they cause a rash if you come in contact with them. Yesterday we watched a man pick a flower, crush it, and smell it. Wonder if he’s itching today.
A few photos from our Golden Canyon hike. It was fun because we got to do lots of scrambling in the three mile round trip hike to Red Cathedral. There are also many side slots to explore.
We got out of the canyon and back to the car just in time to see this.
We were pleasantly surprised to have 4 bars of Verizon 3G here at the campground, but apparently with all the people here the only time we can actually connect to the internet is very early in the morning or late at night. It’s better than nothing, since we checked at the visitor center and their wifi is down and probably won’t be working until next week.