Have you ever been somewhere warm? Or, have you ever experienced a hot, windless summer day? Okay, I’m sure many of you have, as have I. But, I’ve never experienced heat quite like I did while passing through this place:
That’s the Badwater Basin, in Death Valley, as seen from the adjacent mountain ridge. The view from up there was remarkable. And, one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth was observed here in 1913: 134 degrees fahrenheit (57 degrees celsius). That’s hot.
On the day our convoy drove through it was a mere 115 fahrenheit (46 celsius). That’s nothing like 57C, but it’s still unbelievably hot. Let me put it this way, we were all fairly well-prepared as we set out to explore the basin. Most of us had UV-protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and ample amounts of sunscreen applied. But – me being silly and dumb – I forgot to put some sunscreen on the back of my legs. After wandering around for a few minutes I felt a distinct burning sensation in that area; my legs had begun to cook. I managed to throw some sunscreen on right away but I had terrible sunburns on both my legs for the rest of our trip there. Not fun. As an aside we also attempted to cook eggs on the pavement, to various degrees of success (although we didn’t eat any).
It was so hot, that while we were in Death Valley we were advised to do most of our exploring between 7:00 AM – noon, and 3:00 – 7:00 PM, with little “siestas” in between. We used that time to gain valuable insight on the local geography, culture, and of course get used to the heat – by jumping in the hotel pool and drinking beer. I’ve also never seen the stars look as spectacular as they did from Death Valley. The air was so clear, and with little local light pollution, you could see almost everything.
And now this post has reminded me just how badly I need to go back there and to travel in general. Thanks, brain.
Featured image: Badwater Basin looking badass – Badwater, Death Valley, Nevada, U.S.A.