I definitely left the rain forests and rain behind as I settled this week into 12 days in Death Valley, where the daily forecast always says 0% chance of rain and humidity well below 25% most of the time. Yes, it’s been a bit hotter than normal (highs in the high 80s so far) but the temps will slide down to the 70s starting tomorrow, they say.
Leaving Island Park was hard because it was so quiet and the weather was pretty near perfect for me (highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s). And the photography was pretty good, too.
But I had friends to meet in Death Valley, so Thursday saw me braving the tule fog of Fresno and the long uphill grades of Tehachapi Pass before making the turn onto the road east to Furnace Creek.
After weeks on the coast, and even more time before that in the damp cold that is the Pacific Northwest, I feel like I’m finally drying out here in Death Valley.
I’ve taken a few day trips around Furnace Creek, mostly waiting for the daytime temps to dip into the 70s by Thursday. I took a moonlight walk across the sand near my campsite Monday night at 4AM and it was really cool. No one up but me, that big old slightly faded supermoon overhead lighting the way.
Yesterday, I drove the Artist’s Drive, and it was so amazing that it needs its own post, so look for that in a few days. Here’s a sample:
The last week has been hard personally, given the politics and partisanship throughout the media and social media. I stayed away from most news outlets for a week, and just a quick check this morning made my heart ache for my country. I don’t know how we will survive, but we have for 240 years, so perhaps we will figure it out in the weeks and months ahead.
I am letting the desert work on my troubled soul. After a year where my Dad died, I retired, gave up a rooted life and started vagabonding, and then endured this election season, I had not realized how much I needed a refuge so Death Valley is proving a good place for me right now. I can lose myself in photography, capturing rock formations that have survived millions of years, and hope that somehow I can absorb some of that resilience.
(You can download this image free (full-sized) here on my smugmug site – just click on the down arrow to the lower left of the image.)