Our 4-Day Death Valley Photography Adventure - To Hell and Back

9:00:00 AM

When I first saw Hells Gate labeled on a road map of Death Valley, I said to the family "Come on, guys, we are going to hell!"

I imagine the early pioneers probably wondered if they had somehow made a wrong turn and entered hell as they passed through this valley in the 1800's, thinking it was a shortcut to California.  With oppressive temperatures, little water, and miles and miles of desolation, walking through Death Valley does leave you with the distinct impression that you are walking through hell on earth.
As you descend into Death Valley from the town of Beatty on Hwy 374, you will immediately notice a distinct change in temperature as you leave the coolness of the mountains and hotter desert air.  While there is an information kiosk area with parking and picnic benches, there is really no official sign to point you in the direction of Hells Gate.  But we knew it was in the general vicinity of the information kiosk so we parked and walked around the area.  

 I saw this crevice between two red walls and thought if there was an actual gate to hell, it would probably look like this.  There is no historical significance to this area they called Hells Gate, but it is pretty cool to say we have literally been to hell and back!


So in we went.  Someone looked entirely too excited to be walking into hell.

Above the road to hell was paved with what looked like scorched bushes.

Along with desert holly...my favorite plant in Death Valley, whose leaves change from green in the spring to silver in the heat of summer to reflect sunlight, rather than absorbing it.

The rock formations making up the walls were so interesting to look at.

And there you have it, your first look into hell on earth.

After walking through the gates of hell, we scrambled around the rocks and climbed up on a plateau looking into Death Valley.

Death Valley is littered with the remnants of several ghost towns and abandoned mines, and looking at this certainly makes you wonder why anyone would think this would be a good place to live.  I mean, many of our friends wondered why we thought Death Valley would be a good place to visit in the summer.

But this first glance into Death Valley would give anyone pause, and an appreciation for how stark, desolate, and hot it truly is.

From Hell's Gate you can can go south and see places in Death Valley like the Mesquite Flat Dunes, Badwater Basin, Devil's Golf Course, and Dante's View.  If you go north you can see places like Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, and the Racetrack Playa.

 What other things did we see and do in Death Valley?  You'll have to follow along and find out!

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