The expedition from Las Vegas to Yosemite was one of the best adventures Chris and I have ever shared. It was a road not often traveled, and a part of me was a little nervous. It would take 9+ hours without stopping from our starting point to our destination. I had no clue as to how much I’d learn in a single day.
We left Vegas early Friday morning and started out of the city into the desert. We were literally in the middle of no where for hours so when we saw a small store offering fresh jerky, and candied nuts so we decided to stop and check it out. The owner of the one room shop, Betty, informed us that we had just entered Death Valley. We bought elk jerky (for Chris, I don’t eat meat) and orange glazed nuts for me and decided to explore. Next to Betty’s small shop were a few small antique stores, an abandoned motel, and a man selling trinkets and old car parts on the side of the road.
After getting back in the car and driving for awhile we came upon something so eery on the side of the road we felt compelled to stop. An old broken down private plane sat in the middle of the deserted land. It was covered in stickers and graffiti and I had to wonder how it ended up there.
As we drove out of the desert and started towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains we stumbled upon what was probably my favorite spot on our entire trek. We were so interested we started exploring and wound up speaking to one of the few locals left.
A little history of Goldfield: A small town in Western Nevada that had once been so filled with gold that people came from near and far to mine and live on it’s land. At one time it housed 20,000 souls and was considered to be the state capital of Nevada. During this time schools were built, a beautiful new hotel built in 1908, so luxurious for it’s time, that champagne had flown down the grand entrance for the opening. Around 1920 all the gold was gone, and the town dwindled down to 1,500 people. Goldfield began to literally crumble. The high school they had built began to cave. It was put up so quickly that the foundation had been forgotten to be placed. It had to close, along with other stores and during WWII the Goldfield hotel did as well. Now just 300 people still residing in Goldfield, the town is basically a ghost town. Everything was left exactly the way it had been in the early 1900s.
I approached the hotel, expecting to look around and take photos. As soon as I peered in the window I felt overwhelmingly terrified. Chris was photographing me without my knowing, and he grabbed a shot in the reflection of the glass of me actually running away from the hotel. I later looked up the history and learned that it is one of the most haunted hotels in the country and has been frequented by ghost hunting shows.
We spent so much time in Goldfield that were were a little behind on what we wanted to accomplish for the day. We got back in the car and headed through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, stopping to take photos along the way. We drove on a road that every half mile had a sign DIP, it was like being on a roller coaster, we kept falling and climbing for an hour. Until we reached Inyo National Forest where we stopped to take more photos.
Leaving Inyo Forest we headed to the infamous Tioga Pass, which would take us in and through Yosemite National Park. During some parts of the year this road is closed for being so dangerous. Said to be the most beautiful route through the park, we got very lucky that it was open. Some years it does not open until July. The elevation change was something that took me time to get used to. The peak of Yosemite is the highest point in the country and as you go through drops 3,000 ft. From Death Valley, in just a few hours we went from the lowest point in the country, 282 feet below sea level, to the highest, 13,000 ft above. I was slightly dizzy and swollen but got used to the change quickly.
Stopping to take in all of the beauty. The photos speak for themselves, it was one of the most breath taking places we’ve ever been. We ventured from the park down to the valley photographing along the way. By the time we got through the valley we decided to head west again, this time to San Francisco where we’d be spending the next two weeks with family and friends for a whole other adventure.
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