This weekend Hunkyness and I are taking a much-anticipated mini vaca (that's "vacation" without the "tion") to Death Valley, one of our absolute favorite places. To those who've never been, it seems an anomoly, I know. Why vacation in a place whose very claim to fame is its arid climate and intense heat? My answer: Because it has a superb and unique beauty all its own ... and because there's nobody else there! If ever a person really wanted to "get away from it all," Death Valley definitely fits that description. Here's a picture from our last trip, almost exactly a year ago:
For the rest of the pictures from that trip, and some great insight into Death Valley's varied beauty, click here. And a small piece of history about DV is copied below. Honestly, if you've never tried, Death Valley is a fantastically beautiful, calm, wide-open, empty space. Its easier to take deep breaths and relaxation is impossible not to achieve. If we don't get out there at least once a year, we start to shrivel. Its very unpleasant, so we heed the call whenever possible, and pitch our tent in the valley of death for a few days.
A brief piece of history (stolen verbatim from the Wikipedia page on the subject):
The California Gold Rush brought the first Europeans known to visit the immediate area. In December 1849 two groups of California Gold Country-bound White travelers with perhaps 100 wagons total stumbled into Death Valley after getting lost on what they thought was a shortcut off the Old Spanish Trail. Called the Bennett-Arcane Party, they were unable to find a pass out of the valley for weeks and were forced to eat several of their oxen to survive but were able to find fresh water at the various springs in the area. They used the wood of their wagons to cook the meat and make jerky. The place where they did this is today referred to as "Burned Wagons Camp" and is located near the sand dunes.
After abandoning their wagons they eventually were able to hike out of the valley through the rugged Wingate Pass. Just after leaving the valley one of the women in the group turned and said, "Goodbye Death Valley," giving the valley its enduring name (in fact only one person of the group died in Death Valley, an elderly man named Culverwell, who was half dead already when he entered the Valley). Included in the party was William Lewis Manly whose autobiographical book Death Valley in '49 detailed this trek and greatly popularized the area (geologists later named the prehistoric lake that once filled the valley after him).
For the rest of Wikipedia's knowledge on the subject, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Valley_National_Park