Death Valley

Death Valley. The name is almost biblical in scale and it fits. Death Valley, the hottest place on our planet, stands as a formidable obstacle between the east and the California coast.

Standing on the eastern edge of the valley I could see the Panamint mountains to the west. They didn't look so far away and I optimistically began my trek across the valley floor. At first the hiking was easy, a gentle pebbly slope took me down to the valley floor where I encountered a soft salty crust covering the soil below, making for a comfortable walk.

As the sun continued to rise behind me shadows slowly shrank backwards and I unexpectedly encountered what is known as the Devil's Golf course. Razor sharp pillars of salt rose about waist height, they twisted into impossible tangles by the infrequent rainfalls. My progress slowed to a near stop as I carefully picked my way around each snagging formation, wincing each time one of their sharp edges caught my skin. The salt burned as it tasted my flesh.

Finally as the sun reached its zenith I emerged onto the salt flats. Now with the Devil's Golf course to my back, the remainder of Death Valley around me, apparently as flat as a pool table. So I walked, and hours later, the sun roasting the valley floor, the white landscape reflecting painfully into my eyes when I looked up, it seemed as if I had gone nowhere. The mountains to the west looked no closer than they had that morning.

Consulting my maps and taking new bearings, I recalculated the distance I had to cross, and what I believed I had done. With no landmarks nearby in the valley, it was nearly impossible to get an exact accounting of how far I had traveled. I did not know it then, but the extreme dryness and clarity of atmosphere in Death Valley leads objects in the distance to appear much closer than they would elsewhere. The effect is startling to a traveler.

Much later in the evening I began to detect a subtle rise in the slope of the ground. Knowing that I had escaped Death Valley for now, I began hiking with a renewed energy into the relative comfort of the mountains.


See the world, they
told me...

bayou goula towhead

the sea test

the circumnavigator pt5
the circumnavigator pt4
the circumnavigator pt3
the circumnavigator pt2
the circumnavigator pt1
falling dream
the darkness
one hell of a mile 3&4
he will return
the believers
the horror pt2
the horror pt1
death valley

paradise of outlaws
the mountain climbers 1&2
brought to surface
one hell of a mile 3
the lost world
inner gorge
a ghost story
the riddle
slaying the minotaur
heart of darkness
public lands
organ music
two sought adventure
the virgin river
the road north

steal the world
the end of the world
el dorado
the valley of the kings 2
the valley of the kings 1
one hell of a mile 2
one hell of a mile 1
the mountain climbers rr4
heroes rr3
rainy roadtrip 2
rainy roadtrip 1
the transgression
sinister 2
sinister 1
new chapter

like sedona?
torn in two
bridge to nowhere
the door
hitting the wall
elusive 2
elusive 1
pick up lines

revisited 2
revisited 1
which way?
lost mines
in their footsteps
a dance with death

casting the bones
mountain thief
the deer hunter
strange temple
burial pt. 3
burial pt. 2
burial pt. 1
the apparition
return to hell
the lower depths
underground lake
stretch sewer
the hidden lab
shadow movements
meager rations
sw8: the conclusion
sw7: lost gold mines
sw6: the big tubes
sw5: gold!
sw4: el calderon
sw3: redondo
sw2: ghosts
sw1: westward bound
formaldehyde dreams
the underdark
in the beginning