Death Valley

Ok, so if this is ‘The Mountain Journals’, why am I writing about the desert? This excerpt is from Book IV (2007). I was driving across Death Valley on the way to Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney from Las Vegas. At the time I was living in Coral Gables, Florida. I made this trip with my brother, Phillip, and my good friend, Richard. Phil flew into Vegas from San Jose and Richard flew in with me from Florida.

Death Valley, CA



With Richard driving, we continue on and ascend the Amargosa Range toward Daylight Pass (4316’) just past the California border. I can’t help but smile when I see the sign welcoming us to California. By now we’re already within the border of Death Valley National Park and as we descend into the valley where the heat will only intensify, I find it humbling to think that without our vehicle, we’d be at the mercy of an environment that would probably kill us a day or two after our water ran out. I’ve always been fascinated by maps and as I look over the one I have of Death Valley, I find that the names of some of the landmarks and features don’t exactly convey warm, fuzzy feelings of hope and cheer. It’s as if the names were thought up by a meeting of teenaged boys taking a break from frying ants with their magnifying glasses and pulling legs off spiders. There’s Hell’s Gate, Badwater, Leadfield, Chloride Cliff, Last Chance Canyon, Funeral Peak, Coffin Peak, and my personal favorite, Devil’s Cornfield.


About victorvolta

I am a freelance photographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the very suburban city of Santa Clara. Education: San Jose State University (class of '84) BA degree in Journalism with concentrations in Photojournalism and English. Favorite Foods: Ribeye steaks and Stan's Doughnuts (separate plates, usually). Favorite Drinks: Strong gourmet coffee and Trader Joe's Blood Orange Italian Soda (separate cups).
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