When you think of Death Valley National Park, you are probably envisioning Badwater Basin. It’s extremely dry and one of the hottest places in the world.
So that’s why we decided to visit in January! We experienced highs in the 70s, well below the 110+ degree heat you can expect in the summer months. The record temperature in Death Valley is a blistering 134 degrees!
We attended an excellent ranger talk at Badwater. Check out this program or any ranger talk at your next national park. They are consistently fun, informative, and great for all ages.
Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America
Badwater got its name from a traveler literally writing “bad water” on a map. The water here is too salty to drink.
Salt flats at Badwater Basin
There is so much more to the park than Badwater though.
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When we printed the book, we specified thick high quality sustainable paper, beautifully bound in a solid hardcover that will last forever. We worked closely with the printer to ensure that the colors in every image are true to the PCT’s powerful landscapes.
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Happy holidays, and best wishes to all of you. Hike on!
In early October, we did a few day hikes around aptly-named Buena Vista, Colorado. The first took us from Denny Creek Trailhead to Browns Pass.
Crossing a log bridge over Denny Creek. The trail’s pine forest smell was immediately relaxing.
The snow-capped Collegiate Peaks were beautiful. As we walked, Shins songs kept playing in our heads because we had just seen them perform at Red Rocks. It was a good soundtrack for the hike.
A few brightly colored leaves still clung to branches.
Even late in the season there was still plenty of water flowing.
Light snow lingered at Browns Pass. Hiking above tree line is Chris’s favorite!
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Bears Ears National Monument is threatened. Please sign this petition to protect it.
On our 4th day in Bears Ears National Monument, we woke to a lovely morning, then packed up and left Grand Gulch behind. The final day of our hike would involve 7 miles of climbing up Bullet Canyon. Hummingbirds zoomed around us as we began our day.
Early in the day, the hiking was flat and easy. Not so much later!
We continually marveled at the great variety of rock shapes and layers all around us.
After 2 miles, we came upon Jailhouse Ruin nestled in the canyon wall. We noticed the large, bold white circles first. According to an interpretive sign at the ranger station, they are thought to possibly depict a shield, moon, or eye-like openings (for the pictograph on the right). The ruin’s structures occupy two levels in the rock face.
Grand Gulch lies in the new Bears Ears National Monument. This and many other national monuments, including three along the PCT, are now under threat. We wanted to continue writing about our hike so more people can appreciate the archaeological significance and natural beauty of this special place.
Rain fell overnight and into the morning of our third day in the canyon. A cliff overhung Split Level Ruin, keeping it dry. We ate our breakfast up near the ruins and explored the area a bit more as we waited for the rain to calm down.
Split Level Ruin
Hundreds of Ancestral Pueblo pottery shards were scattered on the ground. We feasted our eyes but didn’t touch anything.
The creek had developed a nice flow from the night’s precipitation. The rain eased as we walked, but we still became soaked as we brushed against wet vegetation. On the positive side, all the wet sagebrush smelled fantastic!