Day 17: From Mammoth Lakes to Furnace Creek

Before we set off we had a decent breakfast at Bar 53 in Mammoth Village, and although we haven’t made much of the food on our blog, we had to make an exception here, for we know our good friend Maricar would enjoy seeing the picture…

avocado, peas and mint on toast with poached eggs. A little bit eaten, sorry, the pic was an after-thought.
avocado, peas and mint on toast with poached eggs. A little bit eaten, sorry, the pic was an after-thought.

Today was a travel day, and a story of highs and lows. We left the ski resort of Mammoth Lakes, at an elevation of around 8000 feet, and made our way back to sea level, about 200 miles to the South East. Not that there is any sea here, though far from it – this is the arid landscape of Death Valley. Our destination was Furnace Creek, 190 feet below sea level.

Driving the long stretch from Lone Pine to Furnace Creek – interrupted only by the ranger station at Stovepipe Wells, the road goes on and on, through desert wilderness and occasionally down steep, winding mountain passes.

The road is long, with never a winding turn...
The road is long, with never a winding turn…

Down in Death Valley itself we actually traversed two valleys, and while we were descending, the temperature was on the rise.

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When we left Mammoth Lakes this morning, the temperature had been a cool 66 degrees fahrenheit (about 19 degrees centigrade, very familiar from home). By the time we reached our hotel, the thermometer had soared to a blistering 119 degrees (nearly 49 degrees centigrade).

just for evidence...
just for evidence…

In fact, Furnace Creek holds the world record for the highest temperature ever recorded (check that one out in the record book, Max!) – but you’d have had to be here on 10th July 1913 to experience the 134 degree heat (56.7 degrees centigrade).

The Ranch at Furnace Creek is like a little oasis, and very well set up to cater for batty Europeans who visit Death Valley in August. Surprisingly, the world famous golf course (which we view from our window) is a lush green, though there are very few people on the fairways just now.

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Tomorrow we venture into the hot valley and until then, here’s a lovely sunset over Furnace.

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