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I’m not a morning person — normally. But last June, when I was faced with the promise of a stunning sunrise framed by stark, rippling badlands during a visit to California’s Death Valley National Park, I willingly roused myself from dream land and headed out early (4:45 a.m., to be exact).
Death Valley is known for having some of the most extreme weather conditions in the world, and even during this summer day at dawn, it was starting to feel hot. Still, I, along with several other tourists (who were, like me, crazy enough to visit Death Valley in the summer), convened at Zabriskie Point, a popular scenic overlook located 5 miles south of Furnace Creek, Calif., on Highway 190.
The lookout, which can be accessed via a brief uphill walk from the ground-level parking lot, features a panoramic view of Death Valley’s famous rolling, desolate hills. As the sun steadily creeped over the slopes behind our lookout, it reflected on the mudstone hills directly opposite in splashes of bright orange and pink. For about 30 minutes, our group stood as still as statues, in awe of the desolate desert around us.
As they say: The early bird gets the worm.
The DetailsDeath Valley National Parkwww.nps.gov