Plants, wildlife and waterways – these are the things that you can routinely expect to see when you head out to one of the country’s many national parks. But trek out to Death Valley National Park and you’ll spot something else entirely: fried eggs. Lots and lots of fried eggs.
Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet and holds the record for the highest air temperature ever recorded. The scorching temps mean visitors to the park regularly crack eggs on the ground in an attempt to fry them.Over the past few weeks, a heat wave has kept temperatures hovering above 120 F, leading increasing numbers of park visitors to attempt the egg science experiment.
This was made worse after a BBC correspondent and National Park employee shared a video of their attempt to fry an egg by cracking it into a frying pan. Unfortunately other park visitors repeating the experiment have been cracking the eggs directly onto the ground, keeping clean up crews on their toes.
A spokesperson for the National Park urged visitors not to litter, adding that, “an employee’s posting of frying an egg in a pan in Death Valley was intended to demonstrate how hot it can get here, with the recommendation that if you do this, use a pan or tin foil and properly dispose of the contents.”
Hotels in Death Valley are packed with visitors wanting to experience some of the hottest temperatures ever measured on the planet. As a historic heat wave engulfs the West, Death Valley hit 124 degrees on Saturday, and could eventually tie or surpass the 134-degree record it made in the summer of 1913.
I know what to expect in Death Valley: Unrelenting heat so bad it makes my eyes hurt, as if someone is blowing a hair dryer in my face. I don’t leave CDs or electronics in the car because they could melt or warp. I always carry bottles of water.
But I still make mistakes. I forgot my oven mitts, the desert driving trick I learned as a teenager after burning my hands too many times on the steering wheel. And my rental car is black, adding several degrees to the outside temperature of 127. When the digital thermometer at the Furnace Creek visitor center ticks up to 128, a few people jump out of their cars to take a picture.
But how does a picture prove you were in a place with extreme heat? Tourists are having fun frying eggs on rocks, baking cookies in their rental cars and watching their shoes melt. If that sounds like fun to you, there are two hotels in Death Valley. Be sure to call ahead and ask about vacancies. This is one place you don’t want to get stranded.
The very name “Death Valley” can conjure mental images of an empty, desolate wasteland that stretches for miles on end. In our mind’s eye, it is easy to envision the place as a lifeless expanse of land that has little to offer anyone who is unfortunate enough to visit the place. In reality, that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth and Death Valley National Park can be a rewarding and beautiful place for those who are willing to explore its more than 3.3 million acres of wilderness.
Don’t believe me? Check out the time-lapse video below, which comes our way courtesy of Sunchaser Pictures. They recently went on location in Death Valley to capture some of its awe-inspiring landscapes. What they discovered was a place that was beautiful in an otherworldly way and yet incredibly compelling at the same time.
The producers of this short film recommend you watch it in high definition and with a pair of headphones on, but no matter how you choose to view the video, I think you’ll be amazed at what you’ll see.
Death Valley National Park may look otherworldly at times but this weekend it will actually play host to an event that is definitely out of this world.
The second annual MarsFest will take place in the park starting Friday, March 1, running through Sunday, March 3. The event is designed to allow scientists and space enthusiasts to interact with one another as they jointly explore the possibilities of space exploration, something that Death Valley has played a crucial role in for decades.
Because of the extreme environments and conditions that exist in the Valley, it has long served as a testing ground for new gear and equipment for NASA. The park is often used to simulate hostile alien environments such as those founds on the surface of Mars. In fact, many of the instruments that are currently in use on the Curiosity Rover were first put through their paces in Death Valley. Attendees of MarsFest will get to see just how NASA uses Death Valley as a proving ground before sending their multi-million dollar equipment into space.
The three-day festival has a full schedule of events on tap, including field trips to a variety of locations inside the park, guest lectures from scientists and guided hikes to remote locations. A daylong expo with informational booths will provide demonstrations of some of the delicate instruments used by NASA, while panel discussions on the future of space travel should prove enlightening as well.
If you’re interested in attending MarsFest 2013 click here for more details.