Sadie I Love It

I saw that Death Valley had an ancient lake reappear due to the recent deluges the desert has received thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Hillary last year and the couple of atmospheric rivers. I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to see this ancient Lake Manly before it evaporated. Fortunately Tyler and Lauren had no plans on Saturday, and I managed to convince them to come along with me.

Death Valley is already a surreal place, especially when you are down in Badwater Basin. In the lowest place in North America, you are usually surrounded by bright white salt flats that reflect the unforgiving sun. I decided to start the journey up in the hills at Dante’s Point (elev. 5,575 ft.) which overlooks Badwater (elev. -282 ft.) Despite knowing the lake exists, it still took our breaths away once we saw the first glimpse of the view.

Badwater Basin view from Dante's Peak
Dante’s View overlook Badwater Basin and the resurgent Lake Manly

If you look close enough at the picture above, you can see cars lining the road that is right on the edge of the water. Of course only this view would not do, so we got up close and personal to the water.

People walking into Lake Manly from Badwater Basin.
People walking into Lake Manly from Badwater Basin.

First, no, I did not go into the water. There was no way I wanted to step into what amounted to a communal pedicure tub. But seeing the difference between this and what it looks like dry…

Badwater Basin
Me at Badwater Basin in October 2021 during dryer times.

Hm. My hair was also long the last time I was there.

It is said that in a few weeks the lake will be too shallow to kayak or paddleboard on it and that it will completely disappear by summer. I just had to see what they’re calling a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But, to be honest, with the way our climate is changing I have my doubts about the rarity of this.