The Great Escape of 2015- Day 5 – Death Valley National Park

Our Best Western in Pahrump, Nevada ended up smelling like a wet dog.  The outdoor pool had strange floaters in it and the hot tub was cold and lined with a thick green film.  But the breakfast was wonderful.  So, we filled out bellies and headed deep into the desert towards Death Valley National Park.

The drive to Death Valley was long….a full 2 hours from our stinky hotel in Pahrump.  As we were getting closer to the park entrance, we were met with dozens of little sand tornadoes that looked intimidating from a distance and all but disappeared as we approached them.  Definitely not something we’re accustomed to back east.

The visitors center boasted some amazing information on the area.  If ever you’re visiting any of our state/national parks ALWAYS make time to peak your head in the visitors centers.  They always have so much great information.

After checking off our Junior Ranger books and perusing the goodness the visitors center had to offer, we decided on the Mosaic Canyon trail for our hiking fun for the day.  Believe it or not, it took our trusty suburban nearly an hour to make it from the visitors center out to the trail.  It’s such a remarkably vast area out there.  You really need to see it to believe it.

There were no potties at the start of the Mosaic Canyon trail.  So, we created our own using a few blankets as a shield, and I’m glad we did as there were no hiding spots on the trail if the urge to go arose.  We all gathered as much water as we could carry, and took off.  Mosaic Canyon was six miles of sun-blistering bliss.  There were so many great boulders and crevices for the kids to explore!

One really important detail that’s listed on the nps.gov website for Death Valley, at the visitors center and also in different literature, is to take enough to drink.  Take a gallon of water and don’t save it.  It is HOT and DRY and some of those trails are intense and will dehydrate you in a hurry.  Make sure you’re drinking steadily.  Because, you know, you want to enjoy the hike but you don’t want do die.

Enter Logan.  About 2 miles into our hike up into the canyon he started complaining of head aches and feeling kind of icky all around.  So, I asked the boy, “How much have you had to drink?”  Just half a bottle of water….while everyone else was working on their 4th.  Maybe it was the blazing desert heat that was bringing on delirium but there was no convincing him that the heat + the hike could have been causing his distress.  So, like a good momma, I forced it into him.  Well, as much as you can force anything on a resilient tween.

Outside of the drama surrounding Logan and the water, or lack thereof, it was a really spectacular day.  We were able to enjoy the desert scenery, hike through the canyon and narrows, and drive by some other fine Death Valley offerings that we’ve decided we need to get back to some day.

*Something to keep in mind when traveling with littles:  There will always be drama.  Even the best of kids get tired of being so close to each other.  As a mother to many, there is constant correction to keep them all presentable.  But that’s part of parenting.  It comes with the gig, right?  So, it’s important to not let that bother you or it won’t be any fun.  I could sum up any of our outings by saying that Logan and Sam were at each other’s throats all day.  Or that Bradley was so busy dancing and working his ninja skills that he forgot to get in the car and we drove off without him (again).  Or that Colby’s ADHD (which is well-controlled without meds at home) got the best of him that day.  Or that Amelia chose to communicate purely through ridiculously high-pitched squeaks and squeals all day instead of using her words.  All of that is just silly background noise that would have gone on anyway.  So, why let it bother you when you’re out to have a good time?*

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