My husband and I canceled all of our vacations during 2021 because of Covid, and after canceling our destination wedding and honeymoon…we had a bunch of points to use by the end of the year. So we brainstormed a place that would have great weather in December and we could do lots of hiking. I love love the national parks, to me they are some of the most beautiful and diverse locations in this country. In 2019 we had taken a road trip down the west coast hitting a bunch of parks on the way and had a fantastic time.
So we settled on flying into Las Vegas since its an easy non stop flight from Boston. We planned to land in Vegas and hop in our rental car and head to Death Valley…our first stop. The second we were out of the city limits, I was floored. The desert is stunning to me, I love the lack vegetation and craggy mountain peaks. We ended up making it to Death Valley about and hour before sunset, so we headed to Zabrinksi’s Point…supposedly the best spot to see the sunset in the park. We walked to the top of the outlook, with a dozen other people and loved the view…but down below we could see a twisty trail, going up and around the hills…we automatically knew we had to hike that trail before the sun set. So we set off on the Gower Gulch trail around the point…I can not recommend this hike enough, it was my favorite one of the whole trip! We only saw one other person on the whole trail and the views were so much better than the outlook.
After that we headed to our hotel in Death Valley, I also recommend staying in the park at least for one night, the park is a low light park. Meaning the lights that are on in the hotel area and pointed down, to preserve the views of the stars and the desert habitat. Because we stayed in the park, we were able to head to Badwater Basin for some amazing star gazing and the sunrise The experience was freezing, but also one I won’t ever forget!
We walked the salt flat trail before heading to the car to warm up and drive the 4 by 4 trail to the devil’s golf course…salt and rock formations on the ground.
After that we drove artist’s drive to see artist’s pallet, where the rocks and sand have been transformed different colors by mineral deposits. We were starved after that and headed back to our hotel to devour breakfast.
Our next stop was the Mesquite Sand Dunes, to the me these were a little meeeh…I spend alot of time in Ptown and at race point and it was very similar to me. But it was so neat to see something so out of place as huge dunes in the desert.
After that we headed to Mosaic Canyon and had an amazing hike…my husband had researched that you can hike to the top on one side and the views were so worth it!
On our way out of the park we did the 20 mule team off road trail, which was fun to do! I can not say enough good things about Death Valley, it was my favorite park so far!
It’s no secret that I love to hike, so when my husband and I got to be guests at a wedding in the White Mountains….I really wanted to make a whole weekend of it.
Alison and I got the crazy idea to hike Mt. Willard and then take headshots of each other…without thinking about how hot and sweaty we would be afterwards lol
Mt. Willard was an awesome hike, I love it…it is one of the best views in the Whites for minimal effort, and on the 52 with a view list! My husband and I had hiked it before so we were excited to bring Amelia to the top for her first real mountain hike.
The views were incredible, and we all had a great time.
We hung out at the AMC highland center for a while and grabbed some lunch and some water after the hike…the highland center has amazing views of the Notch and beautiful lupines growing all around it! It was the perfect spot for some headshots. We quickly changed in the bathrooms, and grabbed some no makeup, sweaty headshots after.