Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Death Valley Day 2

Good Morning, Death Valley!

We got up early (for us) and decided to cram in everything we could at this particular end of the park.  We thought we might explore the other end the next day (we didn't, we left!).

We talked through things we'd like to see based on the newspaper for this particular park (in case you aren't super familiar with the National Park Service - every park has a newspaper and a park map) and narrowed it down to three more places.  Then we jumped into Sally and trucked on down the road.

Our first stop was the Natural Bridge.  There was a mile hike to get there.

We parked and started up the hill. 

I turned around to capture this:

So.  Beautiful.

Jonah ran ahead on the trail (which was well marked and oft used).

Can you find Jonah sitting on the rock?

Looking around at the canyon, I hoped there wouldn't be a flash flood anytime soon.  No high ground, and it was obvious that this was a place where water flowed.

He's so dapper.

The Natural Bridge didn't feel a whole mile away.  We got there quickly, and everyone was in good spirits.  Maeryn was a little nervous about going right up to the arch, so I stayed back with her while Michael and Jonah went forward.

When they came back, I took my turn, and Jonah came with me to look again.

Maeryn looked from afar... and got silly.

Then we hiked out and drove on to The Devil's Golf Course.

The name is foreboding, and if I were a golfer, it might be my honest worst nightmare, but since I only play mini-golf, it was just neat.

(This was also the day I learned to use HDR on my camera phone - is it obvious?)

I didn't go far out like Michael and the kids.  I stayed back to take pictures and just look. 

The "golf course" is made of salt formations.  Very hard - you can stand on top of the pictured folds.

Third on the list: The Artist's Palette.

The Artist = God.

There was a pull off on the Artist's Palette loop, and we thought it was the Palette.

It wasn't.  Just another overlook.

So we drove on.

And saw it.

From a distance...

And then closer...

The valley's colors laid out: the Palette of God.

We drove back to the campsite for some food, then Michael and Jonah left again to check out some dune formations while Maeryn and I watched movies and ate more snacks.  When they got home, there was a dust storm.

The bus shook.

We had to close the windows.

Michael ran outside to help our temporary neighbors wield their tarps and awnings.  Some tore.  Paper wizzled and wazzled in tiny tornadoes. 

Back and forth, back and forth - we rattled.

The storm went on for almost two hours.

Then stopped in serenity and calm. 

We had dinner.  And we slept.

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