Today’s Death Valley Days took us to “The Artist Drive”, Badwater, and Dante’s View.
Dante’s View gave us a spectacular view over the valley of the Badwater area and miles of salt flats. Across the valley is the Panamint Mountains that tower above the floor below over 11,000 feet below. Dante’s View altitude is just over 5000 feet and the ride up was beautiful. It was a long gradual rise from the valley until we got to the last mile and then it was straight up with lots of turns and a very narrow paved road. Once there the view below was as advertised…awesome. Then it was back down to were we started, a left turn and out the valley following the salt flats. The park has developed a boardwalk that took us out into the salt so that we could get that “up close” look at this massive salt lick. There were areas of ponds where the water was about 2 feet deep with a salt floor and little salt “islands” coming up from the bottom. There are also fish living there. These little 1 inch long fish that have survived from centuries in this very heavy salt water...again amazing little creatures that live here. Then it was off to The Artist Drive. This drive took us to a 4 mile circular dirt road. Leaving the salt flats behind, we headed towards the base of the mountain. The road was like riding on a roller coaster, lots of mounds, twists, and curves and then we were into the area that gave this ride its name. The lower mountain was full of color made up from the different chemicals and minerals found here. Pink, purple, orange, yellow and red were but a few of the hues that were in front of us. It was like some one had come through with a large sack of colors and spilled them all over the mountain.