As I write I can hear the running water of Beaver Creek. We are in Coconino National Forest in Arizona, also known and the Red Rock Area - quite an apt name. Ever which way we turn there is a towering steeple of, well, red rock. And this update comes neither from a dirty little internet cafe or a McDonald's parking lot, but from our campground. Bless those modern conveniences!
We left Paradise and did a massive drive on our first day. We went through Kern Canyon and had it been warmer, we may have stayed there for a night, but it was freezing, quite literally. Instead we pushed on through and after 13 hours of driving we arrived in Death Valley National Park. Our first day in Death Valley we played super tourists. We went to the salt flats at Bad Lands (lowest place in the world at 292 feet below sea level), took Artist's Drive and walked around Zabrinskie Point. The wetness of the salt flats surprised me. It felt kind of like walking on snow, though the salt crystals don't melt. Instead when they get between sandals and feet it feels like walking on broken glass (must've been what Annie Lennox was talking about. . .).
Bad Lands Salt Flats
Because it's spring time, wildflowers are everywhere. Yellow, pink and purple color the landscape. We were lucky enough to see a bit of wild life. Four burros, a coyote and a herd of Big Horn Sheep crossed our path.
Death Valley is enormous and there's so much to see! Unfortunately this desolate wasteland, miles from nowhere is not an original place to visit. Vista points were shared with heaps of other tourists, peaceful walks left us sandwiched between noisy kids and campgrounds were wall-to-wall RVs running noisy generators. Ugh!
The sheer number of people in Death Valley finally spurred us on to our next stop, Mojave National Preserve. Here there were a lot less people. The dry desert is covered with a variety of different cacti and drought hardy bushes, with cute little bunny rabbits hopping between them. Unfortunately neither Death Valley nor Mojave had a shower available, so after five days without we decided we simply must get clean.
Barrel Cactus, Mojave
That brings us to now. Last night I showered and after five days without felt close to bliss afterwards. It's the simple things, really.
Our current campground is near Sedona and we heard rumors of a farmers' market there tomorrow. It won't be the same as waking up late and strolling two blocks down the street (ahhh, Chico), but I'm excited about the chance to chat with some local farmers and pick up some fresh, seasonal fruit and veg.
Sedona, Steeple Rock