Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/4 Death Valley Badwater Basin & Borax Works

Today, I unhooked and went out to listen to some ranger talks.  The first was at Badwater Basin, about 20 miles to the south down the main road.

The paved sidewalk goes out so far, but then there is a very long area where people's feet have pounded the rough salt area smooth and hard.  It looks wet, but is pretty dry right now.

As I said, there is water in Death Valley, but this water is extremely salty, hence this being "bad water basin."


This area is the lowest point in Death Valley. 

Who says the desert is ugly?

The early travelers in this area were happy to harvest salt from this and other areas to use to preserve foods, especially meat.

Heading back to the campground.  In the distance is a fancy hotel:  The Inn at Death Valley.  There is a restaurant and even a pool there.  Guess not everyone carries their home around with them all the time, so occasionally they have to stay in a hotel, while I never even have to pack a suitcase! 

Down the hill and around the corner is the Furnace Creek area.  There is a golf course here, ranch, gas station, visitor center, and campground. 

The old 20-Mule-Team borax works are about two miles past the campground, so I headed there.
I had not realized that the mining was done almost entirely by Chinese workmen.  And, they worked all year, which means in 120+ degree weather.  They scooped up the white borax and salt mix that formed here and hauled it to the processing plant, where it was purified so as to take up less room in the mule train carts.  It had to be horrible work for very little pay.

Pretty area and easy parking for my motorhome. 

These are the remnants of the processing plant. 

The processing plant from below. 

Not sure what these nearby buildings were. 

There were several mule trains, but this is one of them.  The end car was always a tank full of water for the mules and the humans. 

The small group listening to the ranger were VERY happy to be done and able to leave. Why?  Temps were in the low 60s, and the very cold wind was at least 25 MPH.  Brrrrr!   Death Valley can be very cold in the winter with nighttime temperatures in the low 40s, which is what they have been lately.  Supposed to warm up to daytime temps in the 70s and night temps in the 50s in a couple of days.  

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to go there! Thanks for the great pictures. I live in California, so really, what's my excuse?