Flight Centre’s Raymond recently went on a California Discovery tour with Intrepid Travel, that included a memorable stop in Death Valley. He shares his experience of how a place he never would have never thought to visit, ended up being the highlight of his trip!
What can I blog about that hasn’t been blogged about a million times already? After taking the California Discovery tour with Intrepid Travel, the obvious answer that came to my mind was our stop in Death Valley. A place I would have never even thought to visit, but turned out to be the highlight of my tour!
First off, this particular Intrepid Tour brought me through California, Nevada, and Arizona, with stops in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, and finally San Francisco. When I say Death Valley was a highlight of the trip, it wasn’t the only amazing National Park we visited; rather it was just so different than anywhere I had experienced before (and I’ve been to Egypt and other parts of the Mojave Desert before) that it set itself apart from all the rest.
For one, there was such a range of landscape at Death Valley. When we first drove to the Welcome Centre, we passed massive cliffs on either side, with desert all around and multiple signs warning to watch out for Flash Floods. It was very odd seeing nothing but desert sand and cacti, with signs everywhere telling you to watch for flooding. When we arrived at the Welcome Centre, we sat down for a picnic lunch right next to the Furnace Creek Golf Course, one of America’s toughest courses, partly do to with its altitude above sea level. I’ve never seen so many water sprinkler’s in one spot, it was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 38 Celsius). From there we headed to “Badwater Basin”, a massive Salt Flat about 300 feet below sea level. It was pretty neat to be 300 feet below sea level and see nothing but the salt that would be in the water, if water could actually last there for more then a few minutes; it was afterall over 110 Fahrenheit in Badwater Basin!
We also had the pleasure of meeting Park Ranger Jay Snow. He came over to us after seeing our Intrepid Van, commenting on how much he loved Intrepid, which is always nice to hear when you’re on a tour! He gave us a very interesting and animated discussion of his favorite place in the world; Death Valley! He had interesting things to say, and was absolutely hilarious. A popular quote of his we repeated a lot on the tour was “I open my front door, NATIONAL PARK, WOO!, I open my back door NATIONAL PARK, WOO!”. He ended up being such a positive influence that me and 1 other person on the tour ended up becoming Junior Park Ranger’s (which is meant for kids, but I consider myself an almost 30 year old kid). It turns out that people love him enough that there is even a Facebook page dedicated to him!
To sum it up, the whole tour was amazing! We made some great stops with highlights like taking a Helicopter over the Grand Canyon, a Catamaran ride in San Francisco, and more. The ultimate highlight for me however, was going somewhere different. I love bragging to my friends that I’m a Junior Park Ranger for Death Valley! Thanks to our Guide Kelly Kissling and Intrepid tours for a great trip!
For more information on travelling to Death Valley, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert by visiting your closest Flight Centre store, connecting with us online or calling 1-877-967-5302