Death Valley (Travel Series #2)
After climbing upwards of 13,000ft in Yosemite, we quite literally took an opposite turn and headed to the lowest point below sea level in Death Valley...
Renee: Living out my Star Wars fan-girl dreams in the Mesquite Sand Dunes (!!!); the insanely high winds when we were out on the salt flats in Badwater Basin at the Lowest Point in America (we got a slow motion video of my hair and it's pretty amazing); and the sheer hilarity of our wonderfully cheesy casino/hotel (The Longstreet Inn...just go check it out).
Nick: The Artist's Drive and Palette; seeing the hottest Park Ranger I've ever seen in my life in the Golden Canyon (Renee saw her too, and agrees); we got to the Mesquite Sand Dunes in the middle of a wind storm which was insanely cool; The Longstreet Inn (a hotel, casino, convenience store, restaurant, RV Park and farm, all in one); the beauty of no expectations...we had no idea what Death Valley would be like and didn't do a lot of research before arriving, so everything we saw and everywhere we went was awesome because we didn't have any predetermined notions of what to expect.
Renee: Having to stay in a hotel instead of camping...I absolutely want to go back and actually stay in the park (all of the sites were full!); the hotel beds were waaaay less comfy than our tent bed.
Nick: I second what Renee said.
What We Learned
Renee: Deserts can be more than just flat, empty expanses of land, with the occasional cactus or tumbleweed blowing across the landscape (have I seen too many westerns...?). In fact they can be rocky and dramatic and salty and colorful and versatile, and just absolutely breathtaking.
Nick: Sometimes it's great when you don't plan everything (or anything), or have any expectations when exploring a new place.