Yes, you read it right - it does NOT say "Hoover Dam." The plan was to go to Hoover Dam today. Then, Randy and I started talking about it and I looked it up on the internet to see what tours were available, directions, etc. For parking there is a parking garage; that can be a problem for us as we need at least a 7' clearance for our truck. Also, the tour we would want to take is $30/person. Well, we didn't want to drive 100 miles one way to find out we couldn't park the truck. I did call the info number to ask about the clearance on the parking garage and left a message as instructed - I'm still waiting to hear from them!
So, the upshot is we decided not to go to Hoover Dam. Between not knowing if we could park and the $30/person tour fee, we just figured it wasn't a good idea this time around.
The other day Randy had mentioned going to Death Valley National Park so that was the destination for today. However, before we left, I went to Curves for a workout and then we went to breakfast at Mom's Diner, a great local place with good food.
Death Valley National Park is actually in California and about 50 miles or so from Pahrump. It was founded in 1933 by President Hoover. As we drove along, we saw some of the most beautiful mountain scenery you can imagine. I took lots of pictures, but as usual, they don't do the real thing justice. The park is home to the Timbisha Indian tribe who have lived there for at least 1000 years. While the Timbisha called this area, maahunu, it got its English name, "Death Valley" during the California Gold Rush.
Do you remember the TV show, "Death Valley Days" and the Borax commercials with the 20 mule team? Well, we saw the borax that was mined out of Death Valley during the 1880s as well as a 20 mule team wagon. Randy and I both laughed about that. I could just picture Ronald Reagan riding up to us on his horse!
The first point we stopped at was Zabriskie Point, a 100 yard walk up to be able to look into a canyon of borax and other rock. It was a pretty amazing view.
From there we continued our drive just oohing and aahhing over the gorgeous blue sky, clouds and mountains.
The other interesting stop in the park is Badwater Basin. There is actually water in this area - surrounded by salt flats. The basin got its name when a surveyor couldn't get his mule to drink the water. He actually wrote on his map "bad water." The water is not poisonous, just salty. There are live organisms in the water. Salt flats can be seen all along the drive through the park. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was snow!
It is so interesting to see the contrasts in the park - green against the dry brown of the desert; the white salt against the colorful mountains; and the snowcapped mountains with the green and brown below. You top that with a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds and you are blown away by God's creativity.
For more pictures, click here.
By the time we got home, we had made a circle of more than 170 miles. It was a great day and we got home before the rains came! Not much planned for the weekend. Of course, Sunday is Easter, so we'll be going to church and then joining in the park's Easter dinner. Hope you have a great weekend!
Until the next time . . .