Leaving Las Vegas – For Death Valley!

What had been planned as a day trip with a group of photographers experiencing Death Valley National Park turned into a much-needed day of solitude for me as a winter snowstorm hit Las Vegas and everyone else canceled. Yes. Las Vegas gets snow occasionally!


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They Cancelled the Tour

Really? Did they cancel? Awe Shucks!! I smiled to myself when told of the changes.  It had been a while since I last visited Death Valley and I already knew that I could really use some time alone in my favorite place of peace and tranquility!  So I just decided that I was going it alone.  Come snowstorm or high water, I am going to go to Death Valley as planned!!

Normally I would head up through Pahrump, Nevada, home to the closest legal brothels to Las Vegas.  But I knew the mountain pass was going to be chancy with snow and ice. So I took the back route. Up to Amargosa Valley. Over to Death Valley Junction and into my favorite place, Death Valley National Park!

Once I got past JackAss Flats, the snow cleared out and the roads opened up as the sunshine led the way.  Yes, I know. I grew up in Minnesota, the land of snow and ice. But it doesn’t mean that I liked driving in it. So I avoid it as much as possible in the mountains around here!   Jeep or no Jeep, I don’t need to deal with that white stuff today!

Death Valley has always been my favorite place for peace. I don’t even remember the last time I was there and that tells me it has been way too long.  So I was really looking forward to this trip, even if the others had canceled.  A silly little blizzard was not going to stop me!

Once I found myself on the other side of the snowstorm,  the sunshine brought a smile to my face and the peace of the valley started to really hit me. I was there.  In the land of absolute peace, quiet and some of the most amazing views on earth. Death Valley never disappoints.

Furnace Creek Death Valley

Not in the Las Vegas Snow Storm of 2021!

Not What I Was Expecting

With California under a more severe lockdown than Nevada, I was actually expecting something worse than what I found.  First, no people.  That’s not what I was expecting. I was actually expecting a overran cluster (you know). Like the last time the government shut everything down.  Secondly, the park was very clean, even with all the openness.  As with number one, the last time the State had mandated closures, the National Parks were overrun with people violating the rules and making the parks into a first-rate dump. Not this time!

This time I think I saw maybe three cars at each overlook and the overlooks were clean and tidy. Nothing running over or litter spread everywhere.  It was actually a clean park! And I was there, all alone in my own solitude. It was heaven!

The downside to this was that I was wanting to avoid any chance of having to deal with the snow and ice on the return trip, in the dark.  So I made quick stops where I wanted to then headed out the other side, towards Beatty. And you can’t leave Death Valley that way without stopping to visit the ghost town of Rhyolite.  Or at least I can’t.  But before I got to the turn-off, there was a small family of wild burros on the side of the road, watching traffic go by.  Photo Stop!

Wild Burro

The Locals Are Disappearing

Every year, the chances of seeing these beautiful creatures get smaller and smaller.  So I take advantage of seeing them when I can! This family was a little camera shy and kept moving further away from me the more I stood my ground.  But it was still a nice thing to see.

A quick stop in Rhyolite, then off to Eddie World for fuel, food, and candy. Especially candy. Eddie World has candy from my childhood. Even the candy cigarettes!  I always stop there for a standing order of licorice sticks and a few bags of Good-n-Plenty (pound bags!).  Then straight home before it started to get dark and the roads iced over again…

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Posted by Mark Anthony

Mark Anthony is The Vegas Tourist! Popular Tourism Ambassador, a frequent contributor to Las Vegas forums as well as travel media and bloggers. Loves to help people discover new things to see, do and experience while visiting Las Vegas and Beyond!

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