We, humans, are pretty amazing. Let’s stop and think about that for a second. While we are destroying the world, and causing climate change, we are also engineering our surrounding environments so that we can experience comfort. If not for our abilities to innovate, Death Valley would be inaccessible, and left only for the human imagination. Alas, we see what only could be thought of as terrain mimicking the land of Mars. *note: please do not read this as I do not care about climate change, or promote the idea of destroying our earth. I love this blue planet.
To the desert we go…
Death Valley; the beginning of a journey into lands with inhospitable temperatures. Our tents were shaken in the evenings with the air that only could be escaping a kitchen oven, less the comforting smell of food.
Sleeping in this tent, at moments, felt as if an old, beaten down car with broken AC was funneling hot air directly into our tent. Yet, we find the moments of beauty, when the sun peaks out beyond the horizon bringing in the day.
At every turn on the road, every mini pit stop, there are scenes of beauty. In my mind, this is a scene that I’ve discovered all for myself and that I am the explorer of this area. I think this only because it’s hard to imagine any sane person venturing out here to settle it.
There’s something mysterious, elusive, and unexplainable. Salt formations in Badwater. 282 feet below sea level, a feat achieved by the movement in earth’s crust. “Salt Crystals expand, pushing the crust of salt into rough, chaotic forms. Newly formed crystals ooze between mudcracks, sketching strange patterns on the surface of the salt flat. Passing rainstorms wash off windblown dust and generate a fresh layer of blinding white salt. Floods create temporary lakes that dissolve salts back into solution, starting the process all over again.” (signage in the parking lot at Badwater) Could this be a metaphor to life? Will this all be washed away?
How about them clouds, huh? Flirtacious, photogenic, curious, symphonic.
1/2 Mile Hikes, never seemed so daunting. Pack your water. There’s not many places that a short stroll will remind you of your fragility as a human being. The ~70% water composition of our bodies is constantly being sucked out by the desert. Plastic to the rescue.
Mother Earth, placed this “Natural Bridge” here as a playing place for it’s offspring, us Humans. Invitations to connect, play, and be one are all around us. This world sure is a large playground.
Earth’s make-up, on my feet.
Zabriskie Point – definitely check it out. Can’t think of anything clever to say here.
The Heavens, they must look down into the desert for comfort; seeking answers. They fully expose themselves at the very least. The Milky Way sliced through the open sky, proudly imitating the ripples, crevices, and cracks of the mountains.
I was lucky enough to have this open view from our tent. The tent curtain stayed open all night as I uncomfortably contorted my body to face the Milky Way. A more logical move would have been to prop myself up somehow, or find another way to more comfortably view this spectacle. Yet, no logic, or energy was focused on creating a better solution. Laser focus was glued to the sky. Falling asleep to this only happens in dreams, and my dream came true this night.
Finally, to be fully sure this was a desert, we had to play in the sand. In the early morning, the heat retained in the sand leaves an indication of the heat of the previous day. The scattering of footprints, paws, and other critters reveals that a whole city came to life in the night. At the same time, the cleanser, the purifier – that is the air – ran its course through the hills creating perfect lines, symmetrically uneven. The rows of desert hill, or dunes as they’re called, invite you to slide down them. It’s a trick, to fill your socks, pants, crevices in your skin with sand. The sand, it will leave with you, to leave this forsaken place.
Lines move. The roads dance. Passing down a road, leads you to the entrance and the end. This place is purely magical, yet very undesirable, and very misunderstood.