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To those who come to the desert with friendliness, it gives friendship. To those who come with courage, it gives strength of character. Those seeking relaxation find release from the world of man-made troubles. For those seeking beauty, the desert offers nature’s rarest artistry. This is the desert men and women learn to love. — Desert Magazine, 1936
|California and Nevada, USA||Feb 26 – Mar 3, 2017||$1,995|
There are two deserts. One is grim with unbearable heat. The other desert, the real desert, is a land whose character is hidden except to those who come with friendliness and understanding. To these, the desert offers rare gifts; health-giving sunshine, a sky studded with diamonds, a breeze that bears no poison, and a landscape of pastel colors such as no artist can duplicate. We will enjoy beautiful Palm Springs, an oasis in the desert; explore the stark beauty of Death Valley National Park with it’s colorful and rugged terrain and desert winds whispering romances of the past; and play in the glitter and timelessness of Las Vegas. Come join us on this ‘softer’ adventure. A more relaxed pace with more comfort built in and with all the fun filled activities that make this a great adventure vacation!
Arrive in Las Vegas by 12noon, and be met by your Canyon Calling Trip Leader; transfer to Palm Springs. We’ll stay at a top rated boutique hotel in Palm Springs for two nights. We’ll meet up in the hotel lobby and hop aboard beach cruiser bicycles for a ride in the area or enjoy the pool. Then it’s over to a Palm Springs classic dinner club, where “it’s hip to be hungry”, and enjoy a delicious Welcome Dinner.
After breakfast, we’ll drive through downtown Palm Springs to the world famous Aerial Tramway, largest in the world and the only one of it’s kind in the Western Hemisphere. We’ll enjoy the tram ascent of two and one half miles with slow cabin floor rotations for amazing views. We’ll arrive at the Mountain Station, Mt. San Jacinto State Park, to a pristine wilderness and hike the 1.5 mile Desert View Trail with a number of scenic overlooks and forest views. We’ll enjoy lunch ‘at the top’ and there’s time for some exploring before traveling back down to the Valley Station, and back to our hotel. We’ll enjoy some time to relax by the pool before departing for our downtown walking tour of the Palm Springs stars of yesteryear, perhaps some shopping in the many trendy boutiques, and then it’s off to Trio for dinner.
After breakfast, we’ll depart for Death Valley National Park, with its deep floor reaching 282 feet below sea level. It’s a spectacular land of shimmering mountains, immense vistas of ever changing light and color, and more than one odd surprise. With a stop for lunch, we continue our trek north and east to Furnace Creek where we’ll check in at the Ranch for two nights. It’s off to hike Gold Canyon, a short but dramatic hike, then back to the Ranch to swim in spring-fed thermal waters. We’ll dine tonight at the 49er Café or enjoy a pizza at the Corkscrew Saloon.
After breakfast, we’ll bike to Harmony Borax Works, an old ghost town with adobe buildings and remains of the borax processing plant. Borax was discovered in the valley in 1873, but mining didn’t begin until the 1880’s. Borax doesn’t have the glamour of gold, but more than $30MM worth of the white powder had been produced from the Death Valley region by 1927. We’ll pedal over to explore Mustard Canyon and then back to the Ranch for lunch. This afternoon, we’ll drive south to tour Death Valley, stopping at Badwater at 282 feet below sea level and look up to Telescope Peak, towering at 11,049 feet. We’ll drive to Devil’s Golf Course, with jagged blocks of tiny salt crystals, then on to Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette to enjoy the colorful sedimentary and volcanic rocks looking like it was splashed across the hillsides with a giant artist’s paintbrush. We’ll return to the Ranch for a swim and a cold beverage, before enjoying dinner at the Wrangler Steakhouse.
After breakfast, we’ll head north to tour Death Valley with a stop at Salt Creek for the Nature Trail walk and hopefully we’ll see pupfish, the only fish to survive the evaporation of Lake Manly. 20,000 years ago fish thrived in great fresh water lakes in this part of the southwest. Today, nine types of pupfish live in and near Death Valley and a tenth has apparently become extinct. We will continue north to Ubehebe Crater. Only a few thousand years ago great explosive eruptions blasted out this half-mile wide, 600-foot deep, dramatic crater. Speaking of drama, we’ll turn east to visit Scotty’s Castle. You’ll hear the tales of this character and his entourage and tour the castle. We’ll stop for lunch as we head south to Las Vegas where we’ll stay on the Strip for one night. We will be picked up at our hotel and transferred to the helipad for a sunset helicopter tour over the glittering Las Vegas strip! Transfer back to the hotel and enjoy our Farewell Dinner. Desert dreams will be yours for a very long time to come!
After breakfast enjoy the hotel amenities until it’s time to transfer to the Las Vegas airport for flights home.
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