Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Death Valley.

I'm still learning the ins and outs of what my blogware does. So far the spellchecker doesn't seem to work but I can paste into word and not embarrass myself too much. Apparently I need to post my picture first then I can put it in my profile. See, if I had bothered to get my personal webpage act together this, or some of this would be moot. Anyway, I love this photo of me. I'm not Thin. I'm not Young. I'm full of beans and happy. The photo was taken by my husband at Bad Water in Death Valley last March. It was windy but not hot. I’ve visited DV twice, both times in the spring. Last year the wildflowers were stunning - a once in a lifetime display. This year they were nice but not fantastic. I still haven't identified the very interesting plant with a swollen middle that gave some of the hillsides a very beautiful reddish color.
It's huge place though most of it is uninhabitable. It gets an average of two inches of rain a year. It rained while we were there. Go figure. It was windy too, very, very windy. I saw a lot of coyotes. The rangers had warned us that 15 pets had already been killed that year. They seemed fearless and were around even during daylight hours so I worried a lot about my dog becoming a snack. Omar thought they wanted to play. Silly guy.

We rode our motorcycles across what looked like a chemical waste dump to Surprise Canyon. A lot of DV looks like a chemical dump. Beautiful but not any place you would want to break down in. It's one of the few places in DV that has running water coming down out of the mountains all year. It was very beautiful other than at the entrance, which was something of a dump of old equipment and a few small rundown buildings. Various attempts have been made to mine the area but it also has frequent flash floods that are prone to removing anything in their path. If the ranger comes by and tells you there is a flash flood and to get moving you don't fuss around. You just GO. There was a small waterfall about half a mile upstream. The park used to let people drive their four-wheel vehicles up the canyon. You can still see the holes that were drilled to winch the trucks up. I am more of the quiet hiker type myself so it was nice to not have to dodge around trucks climbing over boulders.


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