We didn’t spend much time walking around Death Valley. Famous for being the hottest place on earth, this below-sea-level basin matched the expectations on our visit.
Stepping out of the car, the heat was instantly unbearable. A short walk to the top of one of the sand dunes was all we could handle. Our car dashboard indicated 100F degrees (that is almost 38C degrees!). And it was only spring. Can you imagine how hot summers are?!
The extreme weather patterns in Death Valley National Park create a really harsh environment. Yet, a large variety of plants and wildlife (some endemic to the area) have adapted to this. More than 1000 types of plants live within the park and show adaptations aimed at reducing evaporation and/or capturing as much groundwater as possible. Over 400 species of wildlife characterise the park area, and most of them survive mainly by living a nocturnal life. Such an interesting environment there!
Last fact: Father Crowley Vista Point, the first viewpoint entering Death Valley from the west, is a good stop and it overlooks an area characterised by dark lava flows and volcanic cinders. It takes its name after Father John J. Crowley, also known as the Padre of the desert.