- Lila Lu
Updated: May 26, 2020
Today, we drove from Pahrump, Nevada to Death Valley National Park. Once we got closer to Death Valley, more mountains started to come into view. There weren’t many mountains back in Pahrump. As we got out of the truck to take a picture at the Welcome to Death Valley National Park sign, I realized how hot it was! It was 85°F, that’s 50°F hotter than Grand Canyon was, good thing I was wearing shorts. About an hour later, we pulled into our campsite at Furnace Creek.
The next morning we started out the day out with a hike called Mosaic Canyon. It was really nice and you got to climb over some rocks and boulders.
After that, we went to Salt Creek, which is a small seasonal creek in Death Valley. At Salt Creek, there are Salt Creek Pupfish. Salt Creek Pupfish are endemic to Death Valley. Endemic means a certain plant or animal is only found in one place in the world. We learned about endemic animals and plants when we visited the Oregon Caves National Monument when I was 7. They have 8 - 9 bat species that are endemic to the Oregon Caves.
Next, we went to Harmony Borax Works. The Borax Works are remains of the original Borax plant, that operated from 1883 - 1888. Then we went to our last stop for the day, Artist Point Drive. Artist Point was really pretty, it was so full of colors during sunset. The hillsides were very colorful due to the different types of minerals found in the rock such as iron, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium.
In the morning, we drove down to Sidewinder Canyon. Sidewinder Canyon has lots of slot canyons to choose from. Compared to Mosaic Canyon, Sidewinder was made up of concrete-looking walls while Mosaic had a marble look. We were not that impressed with the slot canyon hike that we chose, but it was really fun to pick at the rocks. We think that we went into the wrong slot canyon because we met people the day before that told us about Sidewinder Canyon, and said it was really cool.
Following Sidewinder Canyon, we went to Badwater Basin. It was really beautiful. If you go to the end, the path fades, and it looks so vast. Badwater Basin is made up of lots of salt and water. Badwater Basin got its name because of this story: One day a Cartographer (a map maker) came to what is now called Badwater Basin and tried to get his donkey to drink out of the spring-fed pool, but the donkey wouldn’t drink out of it so he named it Badwater on his map and the name stuck. I learned about Cartographers in 3rd-grade art class because we were making maps.
Next to Badwater Basin is Devil's Golf Course. It is also made up of salt that's crystalized, but in a different way than Badwater Basin. It is very sharp!!!
After we got back to the trailer, we went golfing. I was Dad’s caddy again. Dad got five pars and one birdie. That night some friends of ours, Renee and Kurt, also happened to be in the park so they came over for a campfire. We talked until midnight.
Overall, Death Valley was amazing. In summer it has gotten up to 134°F, which is the hottest record in Death Valley set in 1913. Death Valley became a National Monument in 1933 and a National Park in 1994.