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Summer Hell Tourism: Visit the Hottest Place on Earth

Summer Hell Tourism: Visit the Hottest Place on Earth

Unattractive as it may seem, Death Valley National Park, in Californiais attracting visitors in the middle of a summer heat wave in the northern hemisphere.

Death Valley is a narrow basin that is 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level, but between high, steep mountain ranges, according to the park service website. Completely dry air and scant plant cover cause sunlight to heat the desert surface. The rocks and the ground in turn emit all that heat, which is then trapped in the depths of the valley.

Although already extreme temperatures are expected to continue rising and could break records in the midst of a mind-blowing heat wave in the United States, tourists continue to flock to this famous desert landscape located near the border with Nevada.

Daniel Jusehus snapped a photo of a famous thermometer outside the aptly named Furnace Creek Visitor Center earlier this week after daring himself to run in the sweltering heat.

“I really noticed…I didn’t feel that hot, but my body was working really hard to cool down”, recounts Jusehus, an active runner from Germany who was visiting. The photo of him showed the thermometer reading at 48.8 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

Most visitors at this time of year only venture a short distance anywhere in the park—which bills itself as the lowest, hottest, and driest place on Earth—before returning to the sanctuary that represents a vehicle with air conditioning.

According to forecasts for this weekend, temperatures could exceed 54.4 C (130 F), but that probably won’t deter some visitors willing to brave the heat. Signs on hiking trails advise against walking in the area after 10 am Even nighttime temperatures exceed 90 F (32.2 C). The highest temperature in the area was recorded in July 1913 and was 56.6 C (134 F), according to the National Park Service.

Other parks have stale warnings for hikers. At the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, for example, authorities warn people to stay off the trails for most of the day inside the canyon, where temperatures are often higher than at the upper rim.

In Big Bend National Park in Texas, near the bordering Rio Grande, they are expected to be at least 110 F (43.3 C). The National Weather Service has said that it is best removed from the area in the evenings.

The advisories of caution vary between parks and landscapes, explains Cynthia Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the park service. Certain trails may be closed if conditions are too dangerous. Warnings and restrictions are posted on websites for each park individually, Hernandez adds.

Preliminary information from the park service shows that at least four people have died this year from heat-related causes at the 424 national park sites. That includes a 65-year-old San Diego man who was found dead earlier this month in his vehicle in Death Valley, a news release said.

Death Valley National Park emphasizes the importance of self-responsibility over rescue expectations. Although there are rangers who patrol the park’s paths and can help tourists in need, there is no guarantee that lost travelers will receive help in time.

More than 1.1 million people visit the desert park west of Las Vegas annually, which is located mostly in California and partly in Nevada. At 5,346 square miles (13,848 square kilometers), it is the largest national park in the lower 48 states of the country. Around a fifth of the visitors come in June, July and August.

Many adventurers are tempted to explore further, even after the suggested cut-off times. Physical activity can make the heat even more unbearable and make people exhausted. Rocks, sand, and soil store so much heat from the sun that they continue to radiate it into the evening.

“It feels like the sun has broken through your skin and is getting into your bones”says park ranger Nichole Andler.

Others say they feel their eyes dry from the hot wind that sweeps through the valley.

“It’s really hot. Especially when there is a breeze. You’d think that would relieve the heat a bit, but it actually feels like an air dryer hitting your face.”says Alessia Dempster, who is visiting from Edinburgh, Scotland.

The brown hills of the park have signs warning that “heat kills” and other messages, such as a sign in Stovepipe Wells warning travelers of the “Wild Summer Sun”.

However, there are several impressive sites that attract tourists. The Badwater Basin, made up of salt flats, is considered the lowest point in all of North America. The telltale 600-foot (183-meter) Ubehebe crater dates back more than 2,000 years. And Zabriskie Point is a prime spot to watch the sunrise.

Eugen Chen, a tourist from Taiwan, called the park “beautiful” and of “emblematic… a very special place”.

Josh Miller, a visitor from Indianapolis who has been to 20 national parks so far, shares that sentiment. “It’s hot, but the scenery is impressive”it states.

Source: AP

Source: Gestion

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