Death Valley tourist attraction, the hottest place on Earth

This weekend, temperatures could exceed 54.4°C, but that probably won’t deter some willing to brave the heat.

As unattractive as it may sound, Death Valley National Park awaits.

Even though the already extreme temperatures are expected to rise further, potentially breaking records amid a severe heat wave in the United States, tourists are flocking to this infamous desert landscape on the California-Mexico border.

Daniel Jusehus snapped a photo earlier this week of a famous thermometer outside the aptly named Furnace Creek Visitor Center after daring to run in the sweltering heat.

People take photos of a thermometer reading 48C at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center on July 11, 2023, in Death Valley National Park, California. Photo: AP

“I really noticed, you know, I wasn’t that hot, but my body was working really hard to cool me down,” said Jusehus, an active runner from Germany. Her photo showed the thermometer reading 48.8 degrees Celsius.

Most visitors at this time of year drive a short distance anywhere in the park, which bills itself as the lowest, hottest and driest place on earth, before returning to the sanctuary in an air-conditioned vehicle. .

This weekend, temperatures could exceed 54.4°C, but that probably won’t deter some willing to brave the heat. Signs along the hiking trails advise against venturing out after 10am, although nighttime temperatures are still expected to top 32.2°C. The highest recorded temperature in Death Valley was 56.6°C in July 1913, according to the National Park Service.

Other parks have long standing alerts for hikers. At Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, officials are warning people to stay off the trails for most of the day inside the canyon, where temperatures can be 20 degrees warmer than at the rim.

Hikers return to their vehicles in Golden Canyon July 11, 2023, in Death Valley National Park, California. Photo: AP

In West Texas, Big Bend National Park near the Rio Grande should be at least 110°F. The National Weather Service says it’s best to stay off the trails in the afternoon.

Precautions vary by park and landscape, said Cynthia Hernandez, spokeswoman for the park service. Some trails may be closed if conditions are too dangerous. Alerts and restrictions are posted on individual park websites, Hernandez said.

Preliminary information from the Parks Service shows that at least four people have died this year from heat-related causes at the 424 national park sites. That includes a 65-year-old man from San Diego who was found dead in his vehicle in Death Valley earlier this month, according to a news release.

Death Valley National Park emphasizes self-sufficiency rather than rescue expectations. While park rangers patrol the streets of the park and can help motorists in distress, there is no guarantee that lost tourists will receive help in time.

A sign warns people of extreme heat in multiple languages ​​in California’s Death Valley National Park. Photo: AP

More than 1.1 million people visit the desert park each year, which sits along part of the California-Nevada border west of Las Vegas. At 13,848 square kilometers, it is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. About a fifth of visitors come in June, July and August.

Many are tempted to explore, even after the suggested cut-off times. Physical activity can make the heat even more unbearable and exhaust people. The sun-scorched rocks, sand and earth still glow after sunset.

“It’s like the sun has gone through your skin and into your bones,” said ranger Nichole Andler.

Others mentioned feeling their eyes go dry as the hot wind swept through the valley.

“It’s really hot. I mean, especially when there’s a breeze, you’d think it would give you a little relief from the heat, but it really does feel like a hair dryer is blowing on your face,” he said. said Alessia Dempster, who came from Edinburgh, Scotland. .

July is the hottest month in Death Valley National Park, with an average high temperature of 46.5°C. Photo: AP

Death Valley is a narrow basin 86 meters below sea level, but located between tall and steep mountain ranges, according to the park service’s website. Completely dry air and low vegetation cover allow sunlight to heat the desert surface. The rocks and soil in turn give off all this heat, which is then trapped in the depths of the valley.

The park’s Brown Hills feature signs that read “Heat Kills” and other messages, such as a Stovepipe Wells sign warning travelers of the “Wild Summer Sun.”

Still, there are several impressive sights that attract tourists. The Badwater Basin, made up of salt flats, is considered the lowest point in all of North America. The telltale 183-meter Ubehebe crater dates back over 2,000 years. And Zabriskie Point is a prime spot to watch the sunrise.

Taiwan’s Eugen Chen called the park “magnificent” and “an iconic place…very special.”

Josh Miller, a visitor to Indianapolis who has visited 20 national parks so far, shares that sentiment.

“It’s hot, but the scenery is amazing,” he says.

Source: Latercera

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