Just a short drive from Las Vegas, Death Valley as an alternate a resort destination as you could possibly imagine.
It’s early morning and I’m looking at nothing. Well, not technically true, I am looking at something but it is just uninhabited nothingness. And the nothingness I’m looking at is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It stretches out before me as far as the eye can see in all directions, in a myriad of colours.
This is Death Valley, and it’s like nowhere on earth.
Now, this might not seem like the sort of place to come to for a holiday. For one thing, there’s not a beach in sight, it’s about 110 degrees and the nearest mall is about 200 miles to the east, and to top it all my mobile phone has no signal.
But let’s forget all that for a minute. The scenery is breathtaking, I feel I’m on a sort of pioneering adventure and all that’s missing is the wagon train rolling across the horizon. Then again, I am staying in the luxury oasis of the Furnace Creek resort complete with its own golf course, so it’s not all desolation and hardship!
Putting yourself up at Furnace Creek Ranch right in the centre of Death Valley will ensure you get amply rewarded for your courage. This oasis, along with its more illustrious 5-star property, the Furnace Creek Inn (which is closed through the very hot summer months) provides, sumptuous food, great wines, and believe it or not, the lowest golf course on earth. This oasis in the desert has it all, a pool, the golf course, very comfy accommodation, and a superb restaurant that would be hard to beat anywhere. Go eat there and check out the gigantic onion rings!
You can explore Death Valley’s numerous mining ghost towns like Ballarat, Harrisburg and Panamint City, which was called the toughest, rawest, most hard-boiled little hellhole that ever passed for a civilised town. Its founders were outlaws who, while hiding from the law in the Panamint Mountains, found silver in Surprise Canyon and gave up their life of crime for prospecting.
There are many walking trails to explore too and if you happen to be in the Valley just after one of its very rare rain showers, you’ll see a burst of vivid desert blooms everywhere just for a day or two before the desert reclaims them.
Death Valley may have not have the most inviting name in world tourism, but as a vintage ad poster once remarked: “It has all the advantages of hell without the inconveniences.”
I loved it.