Training Day: Week 8, Day 2
Miles: 8-ish (hiking, walking)
Ate Well: Not so much
Commentary: Monday night we made it over the mountains before the storm rolled in. Leaving my dad’s early gave us unexpected extra time before meeting my husband’s friend in Mesquite, NV Tuesday night. Our route south just happened to take us right by Death Valley National Park, a park we had yet visit.
When my husband and I thought of Death Valley, we thought of a flat, dry, desolate desert with waves of heat simmering on the salty surface. Badwater Basin sits at 282 feet below sea level. That’s low! But Death Valley is also home to Telescope Peak, which sits a hefty 11,049 feet above sea level. That’s high! Okay, it’s not super high, but damn is the elevation difference impressive!
While looking for a moderate hike to do during our visit, I noticed there was a golf course in the park! Furnace Creek Golf Course is the world’s lowest-elevation golf course at 214 feet below sea level. Of course, my husband had to play there. We decided on hiking the Golden Canyon-Gower Gulch loop first thing in the morning and then golfing afterward.
Before hitting the trail, we stopped at the visitor center to buy a magnet. We’ve bought a magnet at almost every national park we’ve visited together in the van, and they hang out on the corrugated metal backsplash above the counter. We started our hike at 9am. Not exactly first thing in the morning, but the trail wasn’t too crowded.
The hike had a decent amount of elevation gain, and it felt good to get my legs moving and those muscles working. It also got toasty enough for me to hike in shorts and a tank top for a little bit! By the time we finished the loop, the sky was overcast with a gentle wind. It chilled me enough to put my pants and long sleeve back on.
Our timing for golf wasn’t the greatest because the back nine was closed for construction of some sort. The front nine was good enough to claim having played at the world’s lowest-elevation golf course! The course itself was gorgeous. Tamarisk trees lined the fairways with rugged mountains for a backdrop. And more importantly, we saw a beautiful coyote on the first hole!
After golf, the plan was to hit Badwater Basin and walk to the lowest point in the park. We passed the Golden Canyon Trailhead and cars were parked all down the road! I thanked my husband for suggesting we do the hike first. As we approached the Basin I could see a gaggle of cars on the horizon. Cars filled the tiny parking lot with a line of folks thinking they might find a spot. Cars lined both sides of the road for as far as the eye could see. The wide path into the Basin looked like a rush-hour freeway of people. Fuck that! We drove on and vowed to hit it up at sunrise during our next visit.
I may not have run, but the hike and walking the front nine of the golf course felt good on my legs.
Endlessly seeking adventure.