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Death Valley is 'burning': Red alert to tourists
A trip to Death Valley is like a visit to geography's lab below the earth. It is an adventure worth the risk but it also offers a kaleidoscopic view of the nature's varied wilderness. Reckless daredevils can pack a made-to-fit camelbak and go even now, but the soft travellers should wait till Feb next.

LOS ANGELES, Aug 18: Death Valley national park in southern California, one of the best destinations sought after by travellers, recorded a temperature of 54.4 deg C (130 deg F) on Sunday. According to the US National Weather Service, it is possibly the highest global temperature in more than a century.

A Park employee at Furnace Creek told the BBC, it is like walking into an oven. A heat wave is also currently raging along the US west coast. as the North American monsoon is delayed. Hyperthermia and dehydration can lead to heat stress and then stroke, tourists are warned.

Yet, destination Death Valley is geography's bounty, and a beauty of wilderness. Although it is famous as the hottest place on earth the park is endowed with a wide variety of scenery. It can also be dangerously cold during the winter. It is so hot because it is a basin below sea level and surrounded by mountains, with trapped air heating up. It is 282 feet below sea level. There can be storms and flash floods. Gets 5 cm of rainfall annually. The park has an area of 3,000 sq miles, largest in the US. Inhabitants number around 500 to 1,000. They are employed at the park.

TEMPERATURE: Temperature can go up to 134 deg F (56 deg C). (Hyperthermia sets in at 40 °C (104 °F) needing medical emergency. Above 35 deg C (95 deg F) the body is unable to cool itself by sweating.) The highest ever registered air temperature on earth was 56.7 °C (134.1 °F) in Furnace Creek in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. Death Valley's coldest day was January 8, 1913 with temperature dropping to to 15°F (-10°C) at Furnace Creek.

LANGUAGE : Timbisha is the language spoken by local, pre-historic Native Americans.

BEST TIME: Spring is the most popular time to visit Death Valley - March to April.

PLACES TO SEE: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: it looks lik Sahara; Zabriskie Point at Sunrise; Furnace Creek Golf Course, lowest elevation golf course in the world; Badwater Basin; Mosaic Canyon; Ubehebe Crater; Artist's Palette; Desert Wildflowers; Golden Canyon.

THINGS TO CARRY: Water (one gallon per person per day); plenty of food; Ice chest; sun hat; sunscreen; sunglass, light clothing; sturdy footwear; hydration packs; daypack (look for fit factors);

HOW TO REACH: McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the closest commercial airport to Death Valley. The next closest airport is Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. And it is 2 hours or 130 miles from Las Vegas and 5 hours from Los Angeles, to Death Valley.

WHERE TO STAY: Camp sites

FEES: The entrance fee per private vehicle with passengers $30 (rate as in June, 2020); motocyclist $25; cyclist $15 (all for for 7 days). Payment online at Recreation.gov or in person.

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