The drive in was beautiful scenery except the smell of fire, ash and soot coupled with the “Extreme Fire Danger” signs, the fear and reality of the drought and more importantly the fires ravaging through the region set in.
When we enter the park and learn more about the forest, much like Yellowstone these trees need the fire to live and reproduce.
Their hearty bark protect the live wood and the heat causes a reaction that burst its pine cones and send exploding seed onto the forest floor.
It got me thinking trees aren’t the only ones affected by the fire. Hundreds if not thousands of homes lay in the paths of forest fires year after year.
But homes don’t have protective bark. No. Many people are displaced by mandatory evacuations only to come home to a pile of rubble and ash.
Sadly there are casualties the majority being our brave heroes risking and sacrificing their lives to help and protect others.
Thanks to those firemen and women and all rescue workers for that matter many lives nationwide are spared in these and all tragedies.
If you see or know a fireman be sure and thank them.
That was the silver lining driving through towns in this region. among the signs warning of Extreme Fire Danger were banners and posters on lawns strewn across small town streets with the words “Thank You” and “We ♥ Firemen” “Thanks FD”
These small gestures are sure to brighten the day and soot covered faces of these heroes just as they did mine.
Anyway, We would have loved to enjoy Yosemite more than a few visitors centers and some cliff driving but unfortunately two of the world’s 10 largest waterfalls located in this very park are just about bone dry in this drought stricken place.
Darryl didn’t deem it worth the drive up to Glacier Point so we got our Junior Ranger badges and passed on through.
Sunday Sept. 14….Day 34
It’s a long ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Yosemite to Death Valley National parks.
A long hot ride even with our A/C blasting we couldn’t shrink the temperature below 85°. Our generator was cranking like Papa Bear all the way to a campground he found for us to stay at before our journey down to the literal depths of the earth.
Boulder Creek RV Resort is set in the desert with our RV forested by the shade of native trees we wandered the property and found tortoises corralled near a playground and enjoyed the birdcage in the clubhouse. Just off the rec room is a pool. Not the biggest but it was clean and just the ticket to cooling off in this heat. I take pride in finding good campgrounds. I’m no expert but this one was great for child and k-9 travelers complete with poop stations on every row and a fenced dog run with drinking water for our furry friends.
The camp store conveniently has anything we could need including a snake bite kit. Being from the NE I’ve never seen one before(not that I’ve looked) upon closer inspection I saw it contained a scalpel. EEK!
Swimming, playing, ice-pops and a shower later we were ready to hit the hay.
Monday Sept. 15 …. Day 35
After breakfast we played and visited the tortoises once more before cleaning house and heading out.
Death Valley National Park is anything but dead.
Known throughout the world as the hottest, driest and lowest we saw many desert plants and birds.
Even though we didn’t see any, we learned that fox, muskrat, lizards, snakes and even fish live in this seemingly desolate place. It even snows in some of the higher ground in winter.
Most of the plant and animal species are only found here, like the pupfish, a small tadpole like body teeming in the natural spring fed creeks.
As hot as it is (114º today) it is a beautiful place that we will return to in the future. Due to the inescapable heat in the RV despite the A/C blowing we resolved to bring Oliver into the visitors’ center with us. Oh, Oliver! What a good boy! We are a lucky family to have such a wonderful member included in our journey.
He rode in the stroller like a champion baby and didn’t even attempt to escape. He sat patiently as we strolled the exhibits, browsed the gift shop, took the Junior Ranger Oath, watched a 15 minute video on the park and got lost looking for roadrunners and made it back home, finally.
We are honored to have him!
On our way out of Death Valley, Darryl made reservations for a campground in Las Vegas, NV. We made it into the city just after nightfall and half of our crew were already asleep. The thing about the desert is at night, the heat of the day fades from memory and sleep comes quick.