Coinciding with the Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks, ABC News picked the "Top Ten" parks, ranking our own favorite, Death Valley National Park - wait for it! - #1! Ranking right above Yellowstone, the first National Park! Their description follows the pic below - from Rhyolite Ghost Town (done on our last trek down there) just outside the Park's boundaries.
From ABC News:
"Death Valley National Park This might be a controversial pick for the top spot on our list. But there is a reason: Death Valley's vast size and remoteness make it feel isolated. You aren't going to trip over busloads full of tourists here. You aren't going to need to fight your way to the canyon railing to get that photo op. Some days in Death Valley, you are lucky if there are other cars on the highway with you.
Death Valley is about 140 miles long and has 3.4 million acres of desert and mountains, making it the largest national park in the contiguous United States.
It is the hottest, driest and lowest place around.
The park, about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, is best visited in the spring when wildflowers can bloom or the winter when it is cool enough to walk around. By May the valley is too hot for most visitors, yet throughout the hottest months, visitors from around the world still flock to the park. Lodging and camping are available, but only the most hardy will want to camp in the low elevations in the summer. Most summer visitors tour by car to the main points of interest along the paved roads but do little else due to the extreme heat
In July of 1913, the temperature hit a shocking 134 degrees in the valley. It hasn't been that hot since, but other days have come close. Back on July 6, 2007, it touched 129 degrees. At that point, what's the difference? The summer of 2001 came with 154 consecutive days where temperatures reached 100 degrees. And 1996 was the hottest summer on record with 40 days over 120 degrees. Wow.
But if you can stand the heat, the park is simply spectacular. The park has many different attractions, including vast sand dunes and high peaks overlooking the valley.
But the real highlight is Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, is not just the lowest place in the park, it's the lowest in North America. It's a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. Walking across it - in cooler weather - makes visitors feel like they are walking on the moon. Or at least some unearthly place.
Nearby, is the Devil's Golf Course, an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. The area is so serrated that it was once said that "only the devil could play golf on such rough links."
If you prefer some simpler links, the Furnace Creek Golf Course provides a more traditional game. It also happens to be the lowest in the world."
BTW, we have extended the registration period for our annual trek down to Death Valley (October 30-31, and November 1, 2009) to this coming Monday, October 5th. See below or follow this link.
(from The Nocturnes NightNews feed)