|Saturday, April 17, a trip through Death Valley National Park. Sunny with wakeup temperature of 74 and Death Valley, at 190 feet below sea level, high of 94. Well, we made it through Death Valley and are here to tell about it. But first, I must say that it was tough getting out of Las Vegas. The problem was we kept driving on their circ highway and could not find the exit for the route I needed to take to Death Valley. Finally, after a good half hour of going back and forth, we found the exit for the route we wanted. Now we were off to Death Valley. Again, we were driving through the desert varying between 2 and 3 thousand feet elevation. Beautiful mountains were on both sides of us, but the ones on the right were snow capped. You could see, while driving, where particular areas received more rain than others, by the green or dry look of the desert plants. Within two hours we entered the Park at 3,000 feet elevation and slowly worked our way down to 190 feet below sea level. What we were seeing was landscape so rough and so raw we wandered how it happened. You could see exposed veins of salt on hillsides. In some areas, rocks and boulders were spread across large areas due to a volcanic explosion. Volcanic ash was spread and piled here and there. You could see where active faults had cut through the desert floor. We saw eroded multicolored hills of sand, gravel and rocks. There were dry lakes that appeared as salt flats. On these flats the temp was the high for the day of 94 degrees. There we took a short walk, but due to the dry air, it didn’t feel 94 degrees. The purpose of the walk was to see some small fish, pupfish, which have adapted themselves to exist in this environment. We saw a bunch of them swimming in shallow, super salty water. The Park was the most unique and extraordinary of all the places we have seen. My expectation was that maybe 80% of the Park would be sand and dunes. In fact, I found that sand and dunes make up maybe less that 5% of the 3 million acre Park. Once we drove through the 190 feet below sea level area, lowest in Park is 282, we started to climb up and up and up to 5,000 feet as we exited the Park. Once left Death Valley we knew we had experienced something wonderful. Wow, what a day!! Eventually, we reached our destination, Ridgecrest, CA, located next to the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Tomorrow off to Sequoia National Park to see the monster redwood trees.