Who said Death Valley climate is hot? It was in fact really really super hot. The High on the July 17th was 127 degree; however, I felt it was even hotter than that; although it was already past 8:00 pm. I used to spent 2 months in Oman, middle east. I almost certain that Death Valley had beat the Middle East heat.
Not that I did not know Death Valley is the winter park. The travel book even said it is hottest in July and so I set my expectation pretty high. When I first got out from the car, the heat even beyonds my expectation. How any people got a chance to feel 127 degree though. After reading the leaflet, it appears to be the fact that Death Valley is the hottest place in the world.
The national park consists of multiple attraction, mostly can be accessed via car. Despite the distance, the heat simply disallow anybody to hike or walk. I do not know anyone might do the trails anyway but I certainly dare not. I and my sister, Em, only hopped in and out the car. We did not even stay outside the car more than 30 mins in each place (and believe me, we are quiet tolerate to the heat, coming from Thailand).
NPS does advise indivuals to drink a gallon of water per day during their stay in the park. (Oh my god, I cannot even think 8 glasses in my typical day). There was a poster of good looking and health guy to remind us that no matter who you are, you might be failed off if you under estimated the heat.
I stay in Furnance Creek Ranch. The highlight of Death Valley for me is the Bad Water basin. It is also the lowest point in the North America with the look of the lake full of white salt cystal. Around the Furnance Creek, there are full of other natural attraction, e.g. Natural Bridge Canyon, Artist's Drive, Zabriskie Point, and Dante's view. I love the view of the Bad Water Basin from Dante's view the most actually. The climate on Dante's view are cooler than everywhere else too.
However, the top tourist attraction indeed the Scotty's castle. My first impression was kind of disappointed, it looks like somebody's medium size mansion in the middle of nowhere rather than the castle. We drove 60+ miles from Furnance creek to the castle, I expect a little more. To see the castle, we need to buy 11 USD guided tour. I initially am not willing to pay but we drove so far here. It will be wasted if we just turned back. Surprisingly, it turns out the good tour and interesting story of Mr.Scotty, who not exactly the owner of the castle. And, if you would keep in mind that they were built 1939 in the middle of the dessert. It is unbelievable. (Too bad, we forgot our camera and decided not to walk back because of the heat. It was the last place we visited before heading to Vegas, kind of finished our battery).
Scotty didnot mind to have his name there. But, why did the Johnsons, the true owner, does not want there name there instead? What inspire them to built the castle in the middle of nowhere. I think it will be fun for you to find out yourself.
Almost forget, before you reach Scotty's castle, it worthwhile to visit Ubehebe Crater. It was caused by explosive vocalnic, depth of 600 ft, and easily seen from the rim. What attracted me is the strong wind at the rim. I really feel I could be blowed away if I did not stand firmly. It was not obviously just my feeling. There was a sign warning people that they could be blowed down to the crator. Just don't stay to close to the rim, especially if you are there with children.
After all, it is great and worth experience to visit Death Valley NPS. I would recommend my friend to go.
Tips for Future Visitor:
* I drove from LA starting @ noon and we somehow missed the exit and end-up in Furnance Creek pretty late about 7:00 p.m. If drove from LA, what out the exit 178 carefully. I realized I lost it in after I arrived Prim town at Nevada border.
* Fill in your gas before you get inside the park. The pretrol at Furnance Creek is about 3.50 per gl while it is 4.10 in Scotty Castle. I finished my whole tank from where I started in Prim (near Vegas) and finished it in the Betty town on my way out.
* Furnance Creek have minimart for you to buy water and everything. Of course, the price is added up (not too high). Alternatively, You can buy waters and necessary dried food before you get inside the park. 1 Gl of water per person per day is recommended.