Death Valley - our two nights in the desert
After two weeks of chilling in LA sorting out our new car, our USA road trip has finally begun! We have our Dodgie on the road and first stop.. Death Valley National Park. We were absolutely blown away with the vastness of the park, and how many different types of landscapes there were to see. From canyons carved by ancient rivers, to snow capped mountains of every colour, salt flats beneath sea level, sand dunes for days.. and a night sky full of millions of shooting stars.
We spent two nights in a free campsite where we had ample space for our van, tent, and our own picnic table. Driving through some of the larger paid campsites which were jam-packed with hundreds of RV’s, our little 10-site spot was perfect for not only our budget, but also a peaceful night under the stars with good food and tunes.
Our first night we arrived just in time for sunset - making our way up to an impressive viewpoint which is accessible via vehicle and then a short walk - Zabriskie Point. This was our first proper taste of what Death Valley had in store for us - with a 360 degree view of the valley around us, we watched as the sun set behind the mountains, turning the sky into a pink fairy floss heaven. We made our way to camp just after dark, feeling the temperature drop quite quickly now that the warmth of the sun had disappeared. Beanies and gloves on, we cooked up a warm meal ad headed to bed early ready for an bright start the following morning.
We opened our curtains in our van as we awoke at around 6am to watch the sunrise over the mountains before us, the sky turning orange and luring us out of our warm and cozy bed. After a quick breakfast, we hit the road to our first hike for the day - Mosaic Canyon! A 6km return hike through a canyon that had been worn away by rivers, leaving opportunities for exploration deep inside. The trail itself was well maintained and quite easy to navigate, with only a few large boulders to climb up and over towards the end, where you arrive at a large marble wall where it’s possible to boulder up, before returning back the way you came.
Our next stop-off was Dantes View - a drive along a winding road for approximately 12 miles, through a valley surrounded by mountains. We arrived at the top, 1669m / 5475ft above sea level where we were rewarded with views of snow capped mountains, and the salt lakes below. We sat in the back of our van with the doors popped open, enjoying a quick lunch before hiking up to the two lookout points nearby.. reminding us of how big and beautiful this national park truly was.
We spent a few hours at Dantes View and before we knew it, sunset was approaching. We got back into the van and made our way to what was the highlight for us in Death Valley - the golden sand dunes! Once you stop off in the carpark, before you stand the endless sand dunes waiting to be climbed and photographed. We had about an hour before the sun set, which was just enough time to make our way out as far as possible from the crowds of people who all had the same idea of where they wanted to spend their last hour of daylight! It was a perfect last night in Death Valley, and just a reminder of how tiny we are in this big and oh-so-beautiful world..