About a month or so ago, my sister emailed me on a Wednesday afternoon
asking if I wanted to take a trip to Death Valley that weekend.
At first, I thought "what the hell am I gonna do in Death Valley
when I'm 31 weeks pregnant?"
But since my husband was gonna have to work the weekend away,
I figured I'd tag along for the trip
and maybe spend my days lounging around a hotel room or pool
while my sister explored the park.
To my surprise, the trip ended up being much more than I had imagined
and was a great way to spend some time with my big sis!
We packed the car up with enough water and junk food to last us a week,
and left early Saturday morning for the 4 hour drive to the park.
Our first stop was in Panamint Springs
where we had lunch at the local Panamint Springs Resort.
Clearly their definition of "resort" is much different than mine!
This is pretty much exactly what I pictured Death Valley to be like.
Flat, dusty, desert, and hot.
After lunch, we ventured off onto our first adventure...
A hike to Darwin Falls.
After a very bumpy, and stressful, 2.5 mile trip
down a dirt road in my poor little Prius
we arrived at the trailhead.
Being 31 weeks pregnant, I wasn't sure how much "adventure" I could take
but the hike was relatively easy and fun to do.
We got to climb over boulders and
cross a creek back and forth several times.
And at the end, we were met with this little desert oasis...
Who knew there was green and waterfalls in Death Valley?
After the hike, we hit the road up into the mountains.
One of the biggest surprises of the trip for me
was just how pretty Death Valley is.
I pictured a dry, dusty, flat desert.
Kinda like this...
You can find anything from sandy desert, snowy mountain peaks,
salt flats, craters, and sand dunes.
The mountains were beautiful and had almost every color in the rainbow.
After a bit of a drive, we arrived at the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns.
These kilns were built in 1867 by Chinese immigrants
to turn Juniper and Pinyon trees into charcoal.
The 10 kilns are considered to be the best
surviving such kilns in the western U.S.
Our last stop of the day was to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
These dunes are some of the smaller ones in the park.
They are surrounded by mountains
and have been used in several films, including Star Wars.
I loved the patterns made in the sand by the wind.
There were also lots of old mesquite trees
scattered throughout the dunes.
After the dunes, we made our way to Stovepipe Wells
and checked into our humble accommodations for the night.
What more do you need than a single bed and an air mattress?
Apparently not much!
After driving over 300 miles,
we ate a quick dinner and called it a night.
Tomorrow brings about 160 miles of driving,
more sand dunes, mountains,
a volcanic crater, a castle, and a ghost town.