Death Valley - More Convenient than Hell

Death Valley is a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Rising mountains and falling valley floors create the defining drama. It is the hottest place on the globe.

Exploration of this remarkable park demands a vehicle. Yet, the car must be also be abandoned. Get out and walk! Hike trails, listen to the silence, feel the temperature on your skin. 

Death Valley weather is best in December and January. I traveled to the park in February. The weather was already warm but not yet extreme. I had only a few days to explore the park and it was enough to get amazed by an endless assortment of dramatic scenery. I will definitely go back for a longer time to explore more secluded places of this amazing place. 

 

 Mesquite Flat Dunes - the best known dune fields in the park and most accessible. You spot them just off the road. 

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Hiking Golden Canyon. Most of Death Valley’s canyaon hikes are in-and-outs. Golden Canyon opens the back door allowing access to a whole new set of wonders. 

Badwater - the salt-dipped heart of the park. At 282 feet below sea level, you are standing at the lowest spot in North America.  

 Zabriskie Point overlook offers a stunning panorama of a striking landscape. Hiking the trail is a must! 

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 Artist Drive - the one way loop is paved for its entire nine miles. Offers a beautiful over look of colors - the Artist Palette. Short hike is available. 

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Enjoying beautiful sunset while driving through a sand storm.

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CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT, ca

This year the rains brought a spectacular showing of blooms to California. Carrizo Plain National Monument is one of the "Super Bloom" places to visit in early April, 2017. It is about a 4 hour drive from South Bay Area, making a day trip feasible. It's an amazing spot to explore, especially during the 2017 super bloom. If you have the time, it is worth the drive to see the amazing spectacle.

Sunset at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, CA

Last weekend, despite the rainy weather in the Bay Area, I decided to drive to the ocean to watch the sunset. It was raining pretty much all the way to the beach, but some sun patches over the hills kept my perfect Sunday sunset image alive. I chose Pigeon Point Light Station for my sunset watching and it was one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen. Heavy clouds added a perfect texture to the sunset canvas with the lighthouse on the foreground and my Sunday Sunset image was born.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse located on the coastal highway (Hwy 1, 5 miles south of Pescadero, CA) is one of the most picturesque lighthouses on the Pacific coast. The lighthouse has been guiding mariners since 1872 and it is the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the United States and still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation.

SEPT 2016 | SOLO ROAD TRIP | MONO LAKE, CA - Part 1

My September solo road trip began at 6am, Saturday Sept. 10th. Final destination was Mono Lake & Mammoth Lakes - over 5 hours driving from SF Bay Area through Yosemite National Park, HWY 120 (part 2).

When arrived to the lake, I recommend to stop by the Visitor Center. The view of the lake from it is amazing. Very friendly staff can help you with any questions you might have. Also, they have a little store with photography books and post cards.

Best location to get beautiful photos of lake towers is South Tufa side. Parking is $3.00 per car and I believe the park is open 24 hours. 

Mono Lake is one of the Eastern Sierra's most spectacular natural wonders. It is believed to have formed at least 760,000 years ago. The lack of outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. Depending upon the amount of water in the lake at any given time, it contains approximately 280 million tons of dissolved salts. So much water was diverted back in 1941 by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power that evaporation soon exceeded inflow and the surface level of Mono Lake fell rapidly. As a result, alkaline sands and formerly submerged tufa towers became exposed. For more info about Mono Lake visit www.monolake.org

And now it's time for some photos : ) Enjoy! Your comments & questions are always welcome.

 

 

SEPT 2016 | SOLO ROAD TRIP | YOSEMITE, HWY 120, CA - Part 2

Driving on Hwy 120 through Yosemite to my final destination (Mono Lake | Part 1) took me about 6.5 hours. The park is so beautiful that I couldn’t resist making stops by so many amazing spots on the way there. Hwy 120 runs through the most famous Tioga Pass road, the highest highway pass in California – elevation 9,943 ft/ 3,031m.

I enjoyed every mile of my solo drive through the most scenic national park.