Monday, January 16, 2012

A day in Death Valley

First a stop off at Furnace Creek Visitor Center to purchase our "Senior Pass" and acquaint ourselves with that area of Death Valley, then off to see what we could see for our day-trip to the valley!

Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and vibrantly colored badlands, the spectacular view of Zabriskie Point is one of Death Valley's most famous stops. It was the first stop for exploring some of the sights of this beautiful valley.

After hiking around this area, we headed out to see Ash Meadows, the National Wildlife Refuge. It's the only area left that has the endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish. Ash Meadows is 23,000 acres of spring-fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands. The name refers to the ash trees that once were found in the area. Warm water from underground bubbles up through the sand into clear spring pools, where the tiny silvery blue pupfish dart between swaying strands of dark green algae. Birds flit among the nearby mesquite trees and lizards scurry along the white powdery ground. It's quite a haven, for the wildlife and for the visitors! We spent a nice long time here, wondering around enjoying the springs and the sounds.

En route back, we drove through Death Valley Junction and saw the Amargosa Opera House. This, if you haven't heard about it, is the "famous"opera house in the "middle of nowhere" that a woman named Marta Becker took an old dilapidated building she found in 1967 and made it into an opera house where she performed for 45 years. It made the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983. She is officially retiring this February, but the house will continue to operate (tours)and have other artists perform. Unfortunately it was closed the day we were there, so we couldn't see the interior, but at least I got to see the outside and say "I was there!" One more thing I can check off my list!" ;-)

One last "fun stop on Long Street in Amargosa Valley to see one of the "what is THAT doing out here?"

Leaving the valley...

A nice full day, well spent. mmmmm

...kicking back in Nevada, Marie

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