Monday, March 13: Las Vegas Strip & Death Valley National Park

It’s been awhile since we’ve been hiking, but March finally came and we went on our spring break trip out west! David went on a similar trip last year with his cousin, although we went to a couple of new places that neither David nor I had ever been to before on this trip. We flew into Vegas Sunday night and picked up our rental car. Our first stop was In-N-Out Burger, where I learned that their “veggie burger” is a bun with lettuce, tomato, and sauce. After that, we went to Smith’s grocery store and stocked up on water and clementines. Eventually we found our way through the maze that is the Mandalay Bay property, parked our car, and checked in for the night. We were tired.

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The view from our hotel room

The next day we woke up and went for a walk up and down the strip. I had never been to Vegas before, and actually really enjoyed walking the notoriously crazy strip in the quiet early morning.

We then headed for Death Valley National Park. The drive was wide open, with beautiful views of the landscape.

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After entering the park, we stopped at Zabriskie Point Overlook to take in the vast views. We then headed on to the Furnace Creek Campground where we lucked out and got the last available tent campsite, paid for by David’s Vegas winnings. Finally, we headed out for some toasty (it was in the 90s) hiking, with plenty of water in tow!

The first trail we did was the Golden Canyon/Red Cathedral. It was about a 3 mile hike, that lead us up to a canyon where we did some mild rock scrambling to get up to the amazing views.

We were feeling pretty pooped, so we chose a shorter trail for the second hike. We headed to the Badwater Basin Trailhead down the road. It was about 1 mile total, and was an out and back into the lowest point in North America. The salt flat was just that, flat land covered in salt, with one area of water that is not safe to drink. It was a really neat walk, as it seemed like we were walking in a snow covered area. There was a sign way above us that marked sea level to show us how low we were.

We headed back to Furnace Creek Campgrounds to set up our tent, get some firewood, and relax. The moon was either full or almost full throughout our entire trip, so it was beautiful to see that, along with all of the stars, throughout the night.

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