I came to Death Valley expecting flat desert and bouncing tumbleweeds, with perhaps an ox skull or two scattered over the blazing sands. Instead I got rains and billowing clouds, and found myself nestled in a valley of stark, brilliant colors.
Not in our case. Death Valley is famous as the hottest place in the world with a record temperature of 134F, and driest and lowest in North America with an average of less than 2 inches of rain a year and Badwater being 282ft below sea level. In our week there, temperatures were chilly and we got an inch of rain. So instead of the hottest, driest place in America, we saw storms and clouds and the power of water. (Don’t worry, it’s still the lowest point in America.)
Water in the desert is a powerful thing. A day of rain in a mountain valley devoid of trees and roots to hold down earth, and without soil to absorb the excess water means that all that water is washed down the hillside in a river of gravel and mud. It creates rivers where roads had been and shut down almost all of the side roads in Death Valley with the gravel and debris.
Continue reading “Death Valley: Hottest, Driest, Lowest?”