Death Valley


This was our campsite.  It was at a place called Stovepipe Wells.









The campsite left a little to be desired but the view was terrific.








This is what is left of the Harmony Borax Works.  The borax was scooped up from the valley floor by hand and processed here to separate the borax from sand, salt and other stuff.  The double wagon on the right side of the picture was used to haul the borax 165 miles to its final processing at Mojave.  The loaded borax wagons and the water tank weighed about 36 tons.  The wagons and the water tank behind were pulled by the famous 20-mule team.  Only five sets of the specially designed wagons were ever built.








The 20-mule team was later replaced by this steam engine.  A still later entry was the Death Valley Railroad shown below.  







This engine is now housed in the Borax Museum in Furnace Creek.  The steam engine above and the logging wagon below are also from the museum.







This is a logging wagon built to move logs from the timbering area to the sawmill where they were cut into timbers for the mines.  The wheels are rather unusual.  The "spokes" are horizontal rather than the more common radial.  The wooden pegs were driven in horizontally.  This makes a much stronger wheel allowing heavier loads to be hauled.




No trip to Death Valley would be complete without visiting the lowest point in the US.  This is Badwater Basin.  The sign claims 282 feet below sea level but my GPS put the Basin floor at -320 feet. 








In another view of the Basin, you can see a snow covered peak in the background.  That is Telescope Peak, 11,049 feet above sea level.  Within a hundred miles are other even higher peaks, including Mount Whitney which is the highest peak in the lower 48 states.






When we visited Death Valley in early April, it was warm but not uncomfortably so.  We were told that in July it will be well over 120 degrees most days.  Keep that in mind if you plan a visit.