Death Valley Daze; or, Just Abandon Hope Already

Poor Real just wanted to see palm trees and movie stars. What Real got was Corpus Christi.

I’ve been there. Beautiful vistas and epic moments have sparkled like stars in my eyes and then been ground into affluvial dust in slogs up and down ridges with a laden pack and no trail and wondering if my urban cowboy knew what the freak he was doing.

Well, that was just one trek, and he did know what he was doing. We found an awesome animal skull that graces our apartment, and the trail soon thereafter. But the moment when the world I knew had dropped off the face of whatever mountain range was dead behind us, that was a little sobering.

Another scare-the-backpack-off-you-place is Death Valley, which is also one of the most beautiful and beautifully remote places in the West. Now, I’m going to be like my mother for a sec, who told me for years I wouldn’t like lobster because she didn’t want to share any of hers with me.

You won’t like Death Valley. Not at all. Nope, not one bit.

You’ll be hot. 109 degrees Fahrenheit type of hot.

You’ll get lost because it’s 3 million acres ginormous, and because you think there’s a satellite with your name in it you can drive off-road with your SUV without a map.  I mean, with places like Last Chance Canyon, you know you’re in for it.

There’s nothing to see. It’s all one big amazingly subtle, quiet, stark, vast basin I mean gray expanse o’ rock.

Nothing ever happens there. (Oh, right, for some people who actually like the deafening sensation of quiet, and appreciate the otherworldly formations, and the history that encompasses twenty-mule teams hauling borax and pioneers racing death to get to the other side and weird rocks that move by themselves and massive sand dunes and hot springs, they’ll like it. Everyone else, don’t bother.)

The Manson family lived right up the road from where you could be camping. Yep. Right. Up. The. Road.

So go away! Go back to your tree-filled yards and gentle hills!

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