Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

For those people who really want to go to Death Valley in the summer

For those people who really want to go to Death Valley in the summer

Jan 30th, 2011, 05:41 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
For those people who really want to go to Death Valley in the summer

People often post here about visiting Death Valley. I've never understood the appeal of Death Valley but that may be because I used to live in a desert so I've been there, done there. I've also noticed that some posters just don't understand how dangerous a desert can be, even though many here will try to point out the risks. And GPS units can give a false sense of security.

So I came across this article in the Sacramento Bee and thought it would be a good reality check for anyone thinking about visiting Death Valley - or, really, any desert - during bad weather.

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/30/336...in-desert.html

Happy - and safe - travels.
Shanti is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 06:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,798
Great article! We are planning on going next Febraury. I can't imagine going in the summer.

They come here, have it in their itinerary, we tell them no way, but they still go. What can you do?

Thanks for posting the article.
iamq is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 07:25 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,044
This tragic episode has been described and critiqued over and over since it happened in August 2009.

Odd that that Sacramento Bee is publishing it in winter.

As a cautionary tale, it makes most sense to post it in summer, when unaware travelers might be thinking of making such a trip.

Cell phone coverage has improved in the park, but it is not universal and a car GPS is never a substitute for good maps (note the plural) and a check in with the park rangers.
Placename is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 07:31 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8,798
Perhaps they are publishing it now so if someone is planning on visiting in the summer they can read it and hopefully change their plans?
iamq is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 08:33 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10,556
I don't understand the attraction of Death Valley, either. Would never go there in the summer. It's a furnace. You only need a couple of hours there in the summer, and you want to leave!
PeaceOut is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 08:41 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
Well, and then there's always the ultramarathoners in the Badwater race, every July. I have to admit, the stories I've read and the clips I've watched leave me fascinated and in awe - I can't relate at all to the desire to compete in the race!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badwater_​Ultramarathon
ggreen is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 08:45 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
The attraction is that it is the hottest place, some people just like to see what that feels like.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 08:49 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
I must say that the only death I have seen in a National Park was at Deth Valley in the winter. A one car wreck basically on a flat section.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 09:13 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,046
Thanks for posting this. We are thinking of going here as a side trip in April and this is a fear of mine. A GPS is just a navigation tool and not a substitute for a good map(s). I have learned this while using one where I live and know where I'm going.
sassy27 is online now  
Jan 30th, 2011, 09:30 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,522
Death Valley early in the a.m. in the summer (or anytime) is spectacular. If you just drive through, and never hike Mosaic Canyon, or the myriad other wonderful walks into the rocks, you'll never really know what it holds. A spectacular volcanic crater, fish found nowhere else, sand dunes, huge variety of geological formations, can't begin to list the beauty of that park. If you stay on the roads and use your brain, there is no more danger than anywhere else.
And if you stay in the park, taking a swim in the mineral swimming pools attached to three of the lodgings is paradise! After summertime evening walk under a full moon, you will bump this park to the top of your list of favorites!
sylvia3 is online now  
Jan 30th, 2011, 09:30 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,884
We were planning on spending a day or two there in late April. What might the weather be like then??

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 09:56 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,935
I was there in April 2009 and posted a trip report.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...al-reserve.cfm

What is interesting to me in that article is the role of GPS.

It really is NOT a reliable tool in remote and rural areas, no matter what country you are in.

Use a map, check with the ranger, and bring a gallon of water per person (minimum).
mlgb is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 10:32 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I think everyone needs to understand that GPS are not really reliable anywhere. Even here in NYC they can give wrong directions. I had a new driver the other day and he passed the correct turn to try to find one that didn't exist - based on info from his GPS.

I told him the best way (backtracking was going to be much faster than gong forward( and then asked him why he didn;t know such a obvious turn. It seems he arrived from Texas the week before - and wasn;t really familiar with the city. (He should NOT have been driving without better info. When I said he needed to study a couple of maps - he laughed - but admitted that the GPS had given him wrong info several times - in ONE week - in Manhattan.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 10:57 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
We seem to catch this episode of Nature every time it's on PBS:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/deathvalley/

It's a little cheesy, in that Nature-voiceover kind of way, but it will show you some of the amazing things sylvia3 talks about. I'd love to visit there someday!

(As for GPS, I'm amazed that anyone still relies on it to the exclusion of anything else. Whether it's here in NYC, my vacation in Sicily last year, or the continual horror stories the media passes around, it's pretty clear they should be used to supplement other wayfinding information, not the other way around!)
ggreen is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 12:34 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,935
I was recently in Costa Rica which is infamous for its lack of street names and house numbers. I asked to follow a family back into town from Doka Coffee estate, since they had GPS... they led me on a tour of coffee plantation truck roads, no exit. I peeled off and asked some locals and begged the guard to unlock the beneficio gate for me. I think the family may still be up there in the fog.
mlgb is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 01:18 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
As someone who lives less than 100 miles from Death Valley, I salute Shanti for posting the link. DV can be a very dangerous place midsummer.
boom_boom is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 01:26 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 867
In answer to Stu's question, I like http://www.weatherbase.com/
for that sort of thing. It's a little tricky for Death Valley. You have to enter "Furnace Creek" for the city to get the right weather station.
dbdurand is online now  
Jan 30th, 2011, 02:54 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,183
Stu, here's a bit of info about average weather for Death Valley: http://www.desertusa.com/dv/du_dvpmap.html
Shanti is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 03:34 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,884
Thanks all

Seems like we'll not roast as long as we stay in an air conditioned car during mid-day. Car is new & air conditioning works fine.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 30th, 2011, 04:02 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,655
Stu, take plenty of water and check in with the rangers too. I want you to be safe and happy; I rely on your Bay Area advice! Knowing you, I am confident that you will take all the needed step.

I'm thinking you are going for the blooms in April?
sludick is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:14 AM.