As we left this place, its that dreaded sense of being taken away, that kicked in AGAIN. The places where we pitch our tents are not our houses, but they give us a sense of home – rest after a long day, protection from the cold night, fire to cook our food, keep the animals out of our beds, keep our most valuable belongings safe, … but above all, they root us to a place that made us dream. We planned for it. We packed for it. We embarked upon a journey to get there. We staked our ground. The land, in turn, gives us incredible returns. She teaches us something new. She shows her beauty. She made us happy. Its always hard to leave. I play the role of a child begging to stay for one more day. He plays the role of the wise one putting some sense into me and bringing me home. This cycle continues. I am in love with you California.
Salt flats from the sea that dried up eons ago.
You get to run along these canyon walls on this trail.
The 5am hike to catch the sunrise.
Adults should occasionally get into the sand dunes and play.
The sunset from our camp. Light a fire. Cook supper. Read a book. Sleep. We had a rattle snake outside our tent on one of the nights. We lay still, in silence and waited for it to pass. It did.
We made many such homes over time and I left a piece of my heart in each place in exchange for a memory.
OOTD : Wore the same clothes for 3 days. Everlane Cashmere Sweater. J Brand leggings.
The geologic history of Death Valley is complex: it involves not only fault activity at various times, but also crustal sinking, volcanic activity and erosion. In literal geological terms, Death Valley is a graben; that is, a rift valley formed by the sinking of the bedrock lying between parallel, uplifted, tilt-block mountain ranges. In this case, the two mountain ranges are the Amargosa to the east and the Panamints to the west.
Death Valley’s current landscape is the result of slow, massive changes over many centuries. The earliest rocks, dating from the Precambrian Era, are visible today in sections of the Black and Panamint mountains. During the Paleozoic Era (300 to 500 million years ago), seas covered the region, leaving layers of marine sediment and the fossils of many types of marine animals. The present landscape was shaped between 5 million and 35 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era.
After faults formed in the earth’s crust, exceptional folding and volcanic action uplifted the mountain ranges and lowered the valley floor, creating a graben. The present floor is dropping on one side and is actually 8,000 to 10,000 feet above its bedrock base. Intervening space is filled by the massive amount of debris eroded from the surrounding mountains over time.
During Ice Ages, Death Valley was periodically filled by large lakes. Their waves carved terraces on the bordering rocks, and their evaporation left alternating layers of mud salt deposits that now cover the basin’s floor.
The process of geologic change continues today. The mountains are constantly eroding; their remains spill out into the valley in the enormous alluvial fans which spread like aprons at the mouth of every canyon. Rainfall sends torrents of water down to cut paths through the rocks, subtly altering the schemes of form and color along Artist’s Drive, at Zabriskie Point and within Golden, Mosaic, Grotto, Marble and Titus canyons.
Why so Dry?
Winter storms moving inland from the Pacific Ocean must pass over mountain ranges to continue east. As the clouds rise up they cool and the moisture condenses to fall as rain or snow on the western side of the ranges. By the time the clouds reach the mountain’s east side they no longer have as much available moisture, creating a dry “rainshadow”. Four major mountain ranges lie between Death Valley and the ocean, each one adding to an increasingly drier rainshadow effect.
Why so Hot?
The depth and shape of Death Valley influence its summer temperatures. The valley is a long, narrow basin 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, yet is walled by high, steep mountain ranges. The clear, dry air and sparse plant cover allow sunlight to heat the desert surface. Heat radiates back from the rocks and soil, then becomes trapped in the valley’s depths. Heated air rises, yet is trapped by the high valley walls, is cooled and recycled back down to the valley floor. These pockets of descending air are only slightly cooler than the surrounding hot air. As they descend, they are compressed and heated even more by the low elevation air pressure. These moving masses of super heated air blow through the valley creating extreme high temperatures.
Why is it called Death Valley?
Death Valley was given its forbidding name by a group of pioneers lost here in the winter of 1849-1850. Even though, as far as we know, only one of the group died here, they all assumed that this valley would be their grave. They were rescued by two of their young men, William Lewis Manly and John Rogers, who had learned to be scouts. As the party climbed out of the valley over the Panamint Mountains, one of the men turned, looked back, and said “goodbye, Death Valley.”
Why is it a national park ?
It is the lowest place in the North American Continent. 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. It is a significant area on the planet to do geological study. Its unique naturally, geologically, biologically to California’s already diverse geography, biology, and geology.
I hope that I have convinced you to put this land on your travel wish list. Cheers !