Death Valley – Setting Camp

November 6, 2016

Our flight reached Vegas an hour early, but we reached our campsite a hour later than we planned. On the way from Vegas to Death Valley, we first stopped for surprisingly good lunch at I am Thai.They gave me  glass noodles, when I asked for pad thai, but it was spicy and well made, so I didn’t bother even pointing it out. We then stopped at a drugstore to fill up on drinking water and to buy the husband a toothbrush. Next stop Walmart, to stock up on bread cheese and instant foods. We went from there to Home Depot, to get portable lights ( a hand held lamp or lanterns, a flashlight and glowsticks). Last stop – Visitor’s Center to get, well information. We reached our campsite at around 3 p.m.

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We got campsite 100. Every campsite had a little tree, to give it some shade. Our’s was sadly dead and gone. After pondering for fifteen minutes or so, we asked our neighbours and set up tent at the back of their tree. We have our tent up in less than ten minutes.It is simply crazy how tightly packed the campsites are! You can reach over and touch your neighbour’s tent (almost).  With everyone there, it truly felt like a camp. People, tents, cooking, laughing, singing, drinking, brawling. Okay, so that last part is not true, but you get the picture.

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We have the sunset (today) and sunrise(tomorrow) timings from the ranger at the check-in station. He suggests Artist’s Drive  for the sunset. I am really keen on catching the sunset at Badwater Basin for two reasons – 1.  it is a shiney white salt flat, so the heat and glare there is going to be really bad during the day, making early mornings and evenings the ideal times to visit. 2. pamphotography has a lovely tutorial blog on photographing sunsets at the Badwater Basin. We decide to go to Artist’s Drive first and the head down to Badwater to catch the last light. Later at night, we plan to go the the Mesquite sand dunes for some star gazing.

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Desert Camping with the Bedouins in Wadi Rum

*Photo Courtesy Flickr

*Photo Courtesy Flickr

Camping is high on my list of things to do. The Husband is not too keen, but when he saw how disappointed I was about not being able to camp on our up-coming road trip, specially in Death Valley, he were sweetly came up came up with a plan to do some local camping.

Oh! There’s something super romantic about camping in the desert. The vast emptiness.The silences. The night sky shimmering with thousands of tiny diamante like stars, clear and unaffected by pollution. The spectacular sunrises. The people! The people of the desert, I imagine would be different from the people of the city. They would be roughed and harsh, but fiercely loyal. Their faces would be weathered yet so beautiful. They would independent and free spirited people. Perhaps I read too much.

Real Bedouins,the ones who live in deserts (with no water to bathe for days or months), in close proximity to their camels are probably a stinky lot, and highly irritable because of the weather. The ones I will actually meet would probably be neither. They might be regular people, just like you and me, who will hopefully will not be putting on theatrical airs and gushing, “Khushamdeed!! Khushamdeed!!” In addition to reading a lot, I also watch a lot of crappy Hindi movies.

My apologies if that offended anyone. I am sure the Bedouin are wonderful people and I look forward to their hspitality.

Now if I could convert a desert camping trip to include a camel safari through some stunning landscape and add a trip to the Dead Sea wouldn’t that be just perfect? That is where Wadi Rum comes in. Wadi Rum! Doesn’t it sound exotic? The Dead Sea is a 4 hour drive from Wadi Rum. They are both in Jordan, so you need just one visa.

While in Jordan, Petra-a UNESCO World Heritage site is not to be missed and Aqaba would be a great place to experience the Red Sea.

* Original Photo here.If this photo belongs to you and you have any objection to my using it, please let me know and I will take it down. If not, thank you for letting me use it.

 

** edited to add- Anthea of antheaschronicles tells me that Indian nationals do not require a visa to go to Jordan. Read about her adventures in Jordan here.