1849, a small group of gold rush pioneers entered into this same
valley, thinking it was a short cut to California. After barely
surviving the trek across this area, these pioneers named the
spot "Death Valley"... and the name has remained the
same through today.
its severe summer temperatures, the Valley continues to attract
visitors from all over the world. [During my recent cycling through
the heart of the Valley with colleagues, the majority of the visitors
we met were either from England or Germany.] As one travel guide
claims, "Within the park, you will find some of the most
surreal landscapes on the globe - including sinuous sand dunes
that ripple into the horizon, shimmering white salt flats, intricately
contoured badlands riddled with rushing water, striking copper-colored
canyon walls, and even a massive hydrovolcanic blast crater..."
despite all that [and the wonderful visit and tour my colleagues
and I had through it], it forever remains known as the imfamous
this is why I enjoy backpacking so much. For regardless of my
trek and experience, Nature remains relatively [as my colleague
Keith would say] "unaffected by my presence." Regardless
of name and reputation, Nature's essence in Death Valley remains
alive and thriving. In some areas, you may have to look more closely
for the drought-resistant desert holly or the salt-resistant pickleweed,
but is most definitely alive and resistant to whatever name we
choose to give it or any portion we choose to inhabit within it.
Perhaps we humans could learn this wonderful lesson from this
seemingly lifeless valley.
others may view us by particular names, titles or images, we still
have the best understanding of who we are. Our proverbial waters
may run deep and unseen, but we are each alive and thriving. We
each have vibrant colors, rushing waters and ominuous sand dunes
of our personality. Nothing can, nor should change that. Each
person we meet is who they are - badlands, salt flats, sand dunes,
majestic peaks and lush oasis. It just depends on when you experience
them. Regardless, they are alive and thriving - just as you are
- in their own unique natural way.
Note: What is the one thing I learned from the Valley itself?
Respect. You don't have to understand or even appreciate the Valley
and its existence, but when you are in its elements, you best
respect it and its vitality... especially if you are biking across
it in 100-degree temperatures...