We made our first trip into Death Valley National Park. We wanted to check out the Visitor’s Center and also determine if we could move our rig to the Furnace Creek Campround where the the Park Service has upgraded some of the sites to full service. The booth at the Campground was not open. There was a confusing board on the outside wall of the booth which certainly didn’t help much. We asked about the campground at the Visitor’s Center. It almost became more confusing. You can reserve the full service sites but only 5 days or more out on the Government’s website. If the site is available within that five-day window you may claim it on a first come first served basis but only for the five days as someone may suddenly reserve it five days out on the website and only if you are going to occupy the site that night. So, even though they had a couple sites that were shown to be open the next day, the only way we could get those sites would be to drive in the next day when they might or might not still be available. That’s our Federal Government at its finest and they lost the potential for our business at Death Valley. We will just stay at our private campground outside the Park.
We were very surprised to learn that Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the continental States. We had always thought that distinction fell to Yellowstone, but Death Valley is the largest, which makes it a huge park. This whole region including the Park has to be one of the most desolate places in the States (although the Big Bend area was mighty desolate as well). But at the same time we were struck by its stark beauty with soaring mountains surrounding a valley that is below sea level.
We made a brief stop to see the golf course at Furnace Creek, which bills itself as the lowest (elevation) golf course in the world at 214 feet below sea level. We wondered where the water comes from to keep the course green.
We have our park orientation now. It will take a few trips to attack this place.