Death Valley 

After rested in Las Vegas for one day i felt extremely hot even it was only 90 degrees, I never feel languid like that when I was cycling , I think its a sickness called non-cycling sickness! In order to cure that, I decided to head towards Death Valley!
The largest national park outside of Alaska, Death Valley is an almost unfathomable place. The park’s 3.3 million acres /1.34 million hectares encompass mountain-size sand dunes, below-sea-level salt flats, mysterious singing rocks, and colorful sandstone canyons. Extremes are the norm: Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in America, with summer temperatures peaking above 120 F°/49°C, and average rainfall of 2 inches/5 cm per year. Also extreme are the park’s elevations: Badwater Basin, the park’s lowest spot, rests at 282 feet/86 metres below sea level while Telescope Peak soars to 11,049 feet/3,368 metres. So go high, or go very, very low; get hot, or chill out with amazing desert vistas. Death Valley delivers on every end of the scale.

 The temperatures from Wednesday to Friday was the highest of the week, the highest was 119 degrees. But all of these conditions just intrigued me a lot!
 Since the elevation will drop a lot so I thought it will be all the way downhills from Las Vegas to Death Valley, however I got a long and steep climbing ! After pedaled for 3 hours under 100 degrees, I asked a worker on the road how long is the climbing, his reaction really surprised me ” Are you heading to Pahrump? Oh my goodness, that’s gonna be a long way to go, a lot of curves, this is the steepest part, but you just started, a lot more to go ” 
  I wish I didn’t ask, but I didn’t take his words too seriously, after being given infos by a lot of people on the road, I felt like that everyone has the different definition about ” hard “, someone might tell me that its gonna be a strenuous climbing ahead or very tough road, but it usually not as bad as they described, so JUST GO! Don’t let the fear in control of your life .

I was totally soaked when I was climbing under 100 degrees, each time I thought it will be a downhill after the turning, but no, just endless climbing and climbing.

After 15 miles of climbing, I finally got the nice downhill! It felt so good like the best treat in the world! That’s why I enjoyed riding on up and down hills more than flat roads, the rewards you got from your own effort is better than anything !

I stayed at Pahrump for the night so I got 60 miles to Death Valley next day. The Warm showers host at Pahrump suggested me to stay more days at their house before I head to Death Valley , so I could store more water for my body and make the better preparation for the challenge. But I think you will never get enough ready for it if you are not ready, I’m ready at anytime, so let’s hit the road!!!!!!

  It started getting hot after the Death Valley junction, the hot was different than anywhere else,it was the dry heat, the sun was really like a ball of fire burning on you ,it was not easy to fight against the heat but climbing at the same time, there was still some up and down hills, I just had to learn French on my phone to distract my attention, that’s what I usually do when I am climbing, so I will be focused on the new things I’m learning instead of complaining about the situations.
  It seems like I got downhills after 15 miles climbing, yes,30 miles or more ( can’t remember clearly) all the way to DV! I was approaching Death Valley! But the downhill wasn’t pleasant at all, I felt like I was in a room with 120 degrees air conditioner on and the super hot wind was beating me!! I felt out of breath for so many times! I was like the dims sum in the steamer, I was so ripped!!

When I got to the first hiking trail, I almost jumped off my bike and ran to the hill, I felt so excited to end the downhills that I forgot it was 115 degrees on the ground as well. When I was running uphill, everyone was clapping and cheering, they couldn’t imagine how could people run on such a hot day, but a bunch of people joined me afterwards, we didn’t speak but ran with laughing! Positive energy is like a good virus, people could get infected immediately!

 

DV is even much bigger than I thought, you may drive for months but won’t get enough of it, the distance from each trail is pretty far like at least 70 miles away, I didn’t have too much time so I had to choose only 1 or 2 trails to bike through.It was such a big pity for not be able to do more hiking, so I think that would be a reason for me to come back someday. 

 I decided to head to Bad Water Basin before sunset, the lowest point of North America. After I biked for 1 hour on up and down hills, it started getting dark 

so I just camped in the desert! 

  It was still pretty hot at night , like more than 100 degrees, I kept sweating and drinking, when i woke up the next morning, one gallon of water was finished overnight. 

   Badwater Basin is an endorheic basin in Death Valley National Park,, noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, is only 84.6 miles (136 km) to the north west.

The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of “bad water” next to the road in a sink; the accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus giving it the name. The pool does have animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects, and the Badwater snail.

Adjacent to the pool, where water is not always present at the surface, repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles gradually push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes.

The pool is not the lowest point of the basin: the lowest point (which is only slightly lower) is several miles to the west and varies in position, depending on rainfall and evaporation patterns. The salt flats are hazardous to traverse (in many cases being only a thin white crust over mud), and so the sign marking the low point is at the pool instead. The basin was considered the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere until the discovery of Laguna del Carbón in Argentina at −344 ft (−105 m).


  It was exciting to sleep at the lowest point of North America, after I got to Bad Water, I still had to take 17 miles back to the Furnace Creek, when the sun came out, everything got hot again and there was no shade at all, when I was only 4 miles left I got the sandstorm , the wind came out from nowhere, it was beating my bike with the heat, I started laughing at myself, yes, sun, wind, heat, sandstorm ,I AM NOT GIVING UP!

Fear is an instinct that keeps us safe, but it can also steal our joy.

The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let the things upset you

Dantes View 

Dante’s View is a viewpoint terrace at 1,669 m (5,476 ft) height, on the north side of Coffin Peak, along the crest of the Black Mountains, overlooking Death Valley. Dante’s View is about 25 km (16 mi) south of Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park.


Death Valley, I will be back!

The Red Rock Park 

死亡谷(一) 不折腾不痛快

在赌城呆了一天即使只有30多度却仍然觉得热的难受,骑车时再高的温度都能挺住,反倒休息时觉得哪哪都是毛病,为了治这病,我又重新踏上了单车旅程,当天晚上便决定第二天前往死亡谷。

    死亡谷国家公园有三最:最热、最干以及海拔最低。这里是整个北美洲海拔最低也是温度最高的地方,这可能是大多数到死亡谷的人们对它的第一印象以及理解,死亡谷,很惊悚的名字,听到的传说也很恐怖。说1849年一队淘金客的少数生还者,在这个荒芜的土地上与死神搏斗了80多天获救,一位获救者回望山谷感慨地说:“再见,死亡谷!”(Goodbye Death Valley),此地因此得名。

     死亡谷位于美国加利福尼亚洲的东南方,与内华达州接壤,那里的极限温度可达56.7℃,年均46.8毫米的降雨量,仅比撒哈拉沙漠多了一点。死亡谷形成在三百万年前,由于地球重力将地壳压碎成巨大的岩块,部分岩块突起成山,部分倾斜成谷,冰河时代,排山倒海的湖水灌入较低地势,淹没整个盆底。内华达山脉的冰河期消失后,再也没有春日融化的雪水注入湖中,加上炙热的气候,这个太古世纪遗留下来的大盐湖终于干涸而尽。如今展露在大自然下的死亡谷,只是一层层覆盖着的泥浆和岩盐层的堆积

  这是我在美国骑行的最后一个计划,也可能是我最冒险的一段行程,正好这三天的温度是这个月最高,基本都是在40度左右,即使在夜晚也是38度的高温,到周末温度又会降下来很多,我定了5月9日去欧洲的行程,本来可以利用这段时间好好的把拉斯维加斯玩个遍,可是我对自然的向往和冒险的热爱远远多于繁华的都市,所以第二天一早便踏上去死亡谷的路程。

  因为死亡谷是美国最低点,所以我以为一路会将是海拔不断下降的下坡路,没想到从拉斯维加斯出发的前半段路都是盘山公路。当冒着30多度的高温骑了3个多小时的上山路后,遇到路边道路维修站在路边举着Slow 牌子的工人,于是问他这条山路还要翻多久,他的反应倒是把我惊着了,他说天啊,你要去Pahrump 啊,这条山路你才刚刚开始爬呢,这一路的盘山公路全是陡峭上坡路,还有好长一段路要走呢!说实话我倒真希望我没有问,自我欺骗可能比知道事实更轻松。但是我也没有把他的话倒往真了去想,倒不是觉得美国人爱夸张,只是每个人对难度的定义不一样,这点我在骑行中有过很多次体会,比如经常向骑行者打探路况时他们告诉我前面的山可陡着呢,真不是一般人能翻过去的,结果往往没有他们描述的那么夸张。

    我也是抱着这种侥幸心态去翻这座山,说陡峭倒是一点也不假,这是我唯一一次用上了1-1的档位慢慢摇,太阳像火球一样炙烤下来,每翻过一个转角处时总在想过了这个一定是下坡了吧,尽管每一次都没能如愿,不过我倒是觉得相当好笑,放着空调房里喝冷饮开Party 看秀的机会不要,偏偏要在这35度的高温下爬山,而我居然享受这个过程!! 我大概骨子里就有一种受虐的精神,越是艰苦的环境越让我亢奋。

   在大汗淋漓的翻过了25公里的纯上坡山路后,我终于看到了下坡!!激动的要飞起来就是那一刻的心情!那种历经千辛万苦后得来的享受远远超乎任何一件华服,任何一种美食任何一件首饰带给你的喜乐。只有在路上的感觉才是那么真实,一点都容不得矫情。 

  在骑行将近100公里后,当晚住在了一个叫Pahrump 的城市,当晚招待我的一对骑行夫妇强烈建议我在他们家呆几天让身体储备好水源再去死亡谷,他们曾在那里工作了两年因此对地形非常的了解,他们说那里的热是我将感受到的完全不一样的干热,会像沸腾的热气一样,而且整个死亡谷就像一个大碗,别的沙漠可能在晚上就会降温,但是死亡谷却完全不会,最多可能到凌晨两点以后会降温2度左右,因此即使在夜间温度在38度左右也是常有的事。除了热以外,死亡谷国家公园还是美国本土48个州(不包括阿拉斯加和夏威夷)中最大的国家公园,也就是说死亡谷比面积比黄石还要大,占地13649平方公里,黄石占地8983平方公里。几万公里全是沙漠,别说他们在那里呆两年,即使呆20年他们也觉得没有办法走遍整个死亡谷。尽管听起来会很艰难,不过反倒更激起了我的兴致,有轮子的地方就有路,先踩上再说。
死亡谷(二)   
从Pahrump 出发便只剩下大概96公里的路程,在前行30公里以后便是Death Valley Junction,一条主干路直死亡谷,从这里开始也明显感受到了温度的上升,海拔一开始是3000英尺,仍然有22公里的缓上坡,35度的太阳像火球一样从背后炙烤过来,衣服总是湿透又被瞬间烤干,前方的路仍然是看不到尽头的上坡,我把手机架在单车上开始记法语对话和单词,这是我爬坡最爱做的事,如果把能量集中在炙热的天气和爬坡上,这一路真的会很艰难和漫长,可是我把注意力集中在法语对话里,记忆句子带来的成就感取代了环境给我的不安,除了每公里得喝一大口水以外我完全忘记了自己是在去死亡谷的路上。

   22公里后终于迎来了只通死亡谷的40公里的下坡,海拔从3000英尺降到1000,一开始我还兴奋的打开音乐开始摇滚起来,每到达一个山顶时我都会忍不住自娱自乐一番,每一次历经千辛万苦的攀爬都会让你更加清晰的认识自己,你曾觉得无比困难的感觉都会在到达山顶后被一扫而光,继而激励你挑战更多看似不可能的事,我疯狂的爱上这种感觉!

    然而这次的下坡也让我见识了什么是真正的死亡谷,下坡时带来的风完全就像是热浪一样,就好像40多度高温的空调风在你脸上横扫,有几度我真的觉得自己快被热风窒息过去,越往下海拔越低温度越高,我感觉自己像是在一个巨大的炉子里,水越烧越开,热水越来越浓,整个下坡完全就是被这股巨大的热水环绕,此时的双轮倒真的像是风火轮一样,啊,我是哪吒我怕谁!  

    当经过第一个徒步风景点时,我几乎是跳下单车,连头盔都来不及下就开始疯狂的往坡上跑,在炉子里被热气蒸太久终于可以着陆的兴奋感让我也完全忘记了地面亦是40多度的高温,当我往坡上跑的时候,所以下坡的游客竟全部开始鼓掌,可能他们觉得惊异这么高的温度走路都难受怎么还能有力气跑,后来竟然还有几个老年人也加入我,大家就一起兴奋的笑着跑到顶。我们笑了好久才开始聊起来,我说你们怎么都跑起来了,他们说看着我戴着自行车头盔想必是骑了很长的路到达这里却还能这么精力充沛的在这么高温的天气跑步,他们也控制不住自己的脚步了。能量就是这样一件神奇的事,即使不用言语却都能轻易的传染给周围的人。

  当我终于到达游客中心的时候,才知道当天最高气温已经达到了44度!这大概是我长这么大经历的最高温度了。当我停在游客中心休息的时候,很多人都走过来和我交流,他们没有办法把高温和单车联想在一起,大部分人都是过来度假的,穿着美美的衣服,在酒吧喝冷饮,等到日落时开车出去拍个照,似乎只有我千里过来冒险。我想如果我是他们中的一员,我也没有办法想像怎么能够单车穿越死亡谷,然而真正当你在路上的时候,你会忘记那些恐惧,生命不息,车轮不止,一旦出发,你就只能勇敢。

   整个死亡谷是33万英亩,来之前我是有想过尽可能的多去挑战不同的徒步路线,这也是我在路上一贯坚持的原则,不是从一个地方骑过一个地方拍张照就代表你去过了,只有真正的深入经历,你才会有最真实的了解和体会。但是死亡谷的面积之大,从一个徒步点即使开车到另一个徒步点也需要至少1小时的时间,也就是90公里以上的距离,我只有一天的时间,只能够选择一条路线。

   最后选择了Bad Water Basin(恶水潭),这里是整个北美洲海拔最低的点,海平面 -85.5米,也是最热的点。我没有冒着生命危险在大中午的冒着44度的高温前往,而是等到了太阳快下山的时候,即使依然是38度以上的高温,但是比起中午快烤焦的感觉已经好多了。因为向着最低点前进我以为一路会是顺畅的下坡路,没想到还是起伏路居多,将近30公里的去程我从日落前爬到天黑依然没能到达,最后我便直接在路边,茫茫的沙漠里开始露营,我想这是最好的方式,第二天一早便能趁最热前到达恶水潭。

   晚上月光皎洁,想到在北美最低点露营便觉得兴奋,算是第一次真正意义上在荒无人烟的沙漠里露宿了,然而就像之前说的,死亡谷就像一个巨大的碗,热气都是对流的,即使在晚上温度也不会有太大的变化,大概是在35-38度左右,尤其我是在最热最低点的地方,这好像回到了小时候没有空调没有电扇的日子,即使躺一会儿便是汗流浃背,而且每隔几十分钟就得喝一大口水,你能感觉身体脱水的很快,分分钟都在被蒸发中,有一种在巨型的蒸笼里自己是小笼包的感觉,即使热依然觉得很疲惫,几乎是在大汗淋漓中昏昏沉沉睡去,偶尔翻个身让湿透半边的身子透透气然后又继续睡另半边,我也在模模糊糊中保持几乎每几十分钟喝一大口水的频率,脱水和蒸发比干热更难受,第二天一早发现已经喝光了一加仑水!也就是4.55升,相当于9斤左右!
死亡谷(三) 热风暴来袭
    早上在美美的日出中醒来,此时的风还是微凉的没有热浪,这大概是一天中最凉爽的时刻了,距离恶水潭还有一段距离,所携带的水只剩下半瓶,希望能够平安到达恶水潭再找游客借水了,我知道这个点应该会有很多人前往,日出前和日落后是探索死亡谷的最佳时刻。5月份这里的温度最高是45度左右,而到7月份这里的温度可达54度以上!来这里的大多数是欧洲游客,大多数是好奇这么高的温度是什么样的体会,即使7月份也依然有游客来玩,而美国本地游客却很少,哈哈我想知道这里热度的本地人都觉得我们是疯子!

  Badwater Salt Flat – 1mile/0ft/0.5hr

整个公园的最低点,也是北美的最低点,几万年来,随着湖水逐渐干涸,盐逐渐在此沉积,最终形成了一大片白色盐田。春季雨后,这里偶尔会出现湖面,水的味道极为苦涩,成为名符其实的Badwater。

   到达后遇到几个一对瑞士夫妇,他们看我骑单车过来,主动问我是否需要水或者其他帮助,我像小鸡啄米似的连说Yes,在又装满了一加仑水后才感觉能量又来了,在这个分分钟能脱水的地方没有水简直就是玩命。他们知道我在骑行美国并即将骑行欧洲便留下了他们在瑞士的联系方式,说如果我经过他们可以招待我,之前也遇到了一队德国人和法国人做了同样的事,哈哈在欧洲这个举目无亲的陌生大陆,也算是有朋友了。

    回去的路依然是将近30公里的起伏路,太阳和热浪也已经醒来,这个完全没有任何树荫的茫茫沙漠,感觉自己完全被太阳包裹无处遁形,回去的路上经过Artist’s Palette ,依然忍不住停下来徒步一番,岩石因为含有不同的元素,呈现出不同的颜色,聚集在一起便成了这色彩斑斓、诡谲多变的调色盘。

  等到徒步完已经又是40多度的高温了,脑袋完全是在被晒晕的状态但是双腿还是不住的踩踏,平时看起来不是那么困难的起伏路此时却像一座高山一样给我增加了无比的阻力,路上经过的司机纷纷给我竖起大拇指,他们的举动竟让我感动的哭了,当你在独自战斗的时候总会有人让你感觉你不是一个人。

   中午10:35分,热风暴袭来!早上还是平静的沙漠此时却不知从哪里刮来一阵妖风,这股风是交错着的从四面八方涌向我,除了单车被吹的东倒西歪更是被这股巨大的热气蒸的完全透不过气,此时只剩下不到3公里的路程到达服务站,然而这股风却让我无法前进,大风开始刮起沙尘。热浪,沙土,攀爬,42度,死亡谷在完全的展示它的威力,所幸我的意识还是清醒,双脚没有停止,我开始大笑起来,每到艰难的处境时我总是莫名的兴奋,任它敲打万分,我依然不会放弃。

   最终到达服务站时我才完全释放一般在沙发上躺了一个多小时,看着窗外被风刮的东倒西歪的树,完全不敢相信自己就这样走了出来,据说这里还举办过极限马拉松和单车挑战赛,选手们在40多度的高温下从最低点的恶水潭跑到3000多英尺的顶点。人的能量永远大到你震撼,没有征服不了的大自然,只有征服不了的自己!

     回去的路上经过Dante’s View,在这里,可以傲视全谷。对面的山是公园里的最高峰,而正下方正是最低的Badwater Basin。最高与最低,仅仅相隔几百米,就这么巧妙的组合在一起。白色的盐田与褐色的盐碱地紧挨着,形成了鲜明的对比。盐田自身也呈现出不同的亮度与密度,如同空中的云彩,明暗不一。

   没有能够去尝试死亡谷其他的徒步路线是这次最大的遗憾,也许这将会成为有一天让我再次回到美国的一个动力,当我在马里兰生活2年时,我觉得那就是我看到的全部美国,然而真正走出来才发现美国是如此多样化,每个州都有自己完全不同的特色,不管是自然景观还是人文,不管是城市还是乡村,每一片土地都有它的故事。

    

   

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