|Death Valley National Park, photo courtesy of Yahoo Travel|
Death Valley is apparently a "love it or hate it" National Park, because Yahoo Travel has ranked it as one of America's Five Worst National Parks. From the article:
Death Valley, California and Nevada
Here’s an idea: heat a pan full of sand to about 200 degrees, then pour it on your head. Congratulations, you’ve just simulated a visit to Death Valley National Park.
This is a place that actually boasts about once having 43 consecutive days of temperatures above 120 degrees. One Yahoo editor visited, and became so delusional from the heat that he imagined he enjoyed the trip. When it’s not hot, it’s bitterly cold in Death Valley, so at least you can get some variety in your misery. “Oh, it has pretty rocks and mountains,” say some. You where else has colorful rocks? Literally every single other national park, and you might actually enjoy visiting them.
Online Review: “I have to say this is the ugliest place I have ever seen…I paid $20 for nothing but rock and salt.”
Fun fact: Everyone who visits the park dies.
It almost sounds as though the author has never actually visted Death Valley, or else his visit was limited to the paved roads in the valleys during the heat of the summer. As I illustrated in my own trip report from Death Valley, there is much to love in the desert that you can't experience anywhere else. Death Valley expert "Death Valley Jim" expressed his sentiments on his Facebook page; the comments from his followers are an entertaining read. Suffice it to say, the information provided by Yahoo Travel is poor advice.
|Death Valley National Park, February 2014|
Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if Yahoo Travel's editors are this narrow-minded and research-limited, I can't recommend them as a reliable source of travel information for the outdoors enthusiast. Even if Yahoo's article is merely tongue-in-cheek humor, the implication that tax dollars should not be funding this park because the editor didn't enjoy his visit is deplorable. As one of the only National Parks that permits backcountry vehicular recreation, Death Valley is a most treasured natural resource.
When first researching Death Valley before my own trip, I studied these offroad guidebooks: Guide to Southern California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails and California Desert Byways: 68 of California's Best Backcountry Drives and California Trails Desert Region. I own all of them and can attest to how much information they contain, which really helped enhanced our enjoyment of the area. Plus, as an added benefit, each of these books also covers numerous other trails outside of Death Valley and can help you enjoy years of backcountry exploration: