May 7, 2013

Death Valley

Death Valley is one of my favorite places. I tell people I am going on vacation; they ask me where; I tell them Death Valley. I enjoy the various reactions (most of the time that ends the discussion). Clearly most people have some preconceived ideas, which lead them to conclude that I must be crazy and/or dangerous. I am in good company; Edward Abbey loved Death Valley.

In actual fact, when I tell people this, I may be heading anywhere in the general area. Maybe Red Rocks near Las Vegas. Maybe somewhere in the Owens Valley. Maybe some location in the Mojave Desert. Most people would just be confused if I told them exactly where I was going, so "Death Valley" does the job. Death Valley is a fascinating place, and the center of a vast desert wilderness. For better or for worse it is a national park.

The 49ers

This is the original Death Valley story. I have read it in various versions many times.

Desert Magazine

I read an enjoyed some copies of this back in the 1970's, and some kind soul has set up a website with every issue available as a PDF: You can also buy a pair of DVD's with the entire collection for a reasonable price.


Shoshone and the Tecopa area, though not inside the park boundary, are an undeniable part of the Death Valley history and legacy. You can visit Charles Browns store (now just a convenience store of sorts, but there is amazing history behind it). The Tecopa hot springs are a great resource. They used to be free, and managed by Inyo County. Now they are privatized and there is a fee (I think $5.00 per day). This change made a lot of local people angry (and didn't make me jump for joy either). Apparently a lot of the locals boycot the springs now, and one writer recommends that you take your business to "Delights Hot Springs", which costs twice as much ($10.00 per day), but you get more for your money and the satisfaction of thumbing your nose at the CLM (California Land Management?). It is recommended that you consider eating at Pastels Restaurant as well.
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