June 14, 2024

Today was my brother Tom’s birthday. I marked the day by waking up at 3am to drive into Death Valley NP for sunrise.

It was an easy drive in the dark – I was excited to make the trip, and happy I had the road (almost) all to myself. The Milky Way was AMAZING at 3:30am.

My first stop was Zabriskie Point. It’s a popular spot to look out over Badwater Basin, and I was not the only one there before the sun. Everyone was hushed and there was a palpable sense of reverence in the crowd.

Watching the colors of the mountains change color as the sun rose was awesome.
People shown for scale.
The photos are great, and they fall far short of being there in person.

After sunrise, I drove down to Badwater Basin. It was already quite warm at 7am (90°F), and there were warning signs about walking after 10am. I think 7:30 would have been too warm…

The salt crystals!

I started to make my way back. All of the views were gorgeous, and constantly changing with the growing sunlight.

Golden Canyon – home of Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: A New Hope. Of COURSE I had to check it out!
Really great visitors center. 10/10 would recommend for the air conditioning alone 🙂

I stopped briefly at Mesquite Sand Dunes.

Way cool
I got major Spaceballs “comb the desert!” vibes 🤣
Driving back towards Mt Whitney. I’ve now been to both the lowest (Badwater) and highest (Whitney) points in the contiguous US. And those places are only about 150 miles apart.

I also visited Manzanar NHS, where Japanese Americans were detained during WWII. Although almost all of the structures had been removed, the site told a powerful story of an awful time for tens of thousands of people. There is an excellent interpretive center – heartbreaking and informative.

https://www.nps.gov/articles/manz.htm
The three characters on the cemetery monument translate to ‘soul consoling tower.’

I took in the full day – National Parks, a road trip, vanilla soft serve, hot pastrami on rye, elephant ear pastry, roadside naps, sunset lake dip – and felt my soul consoled. I am so full of joy, and grief, and gratitude, and love.

One thought on “June 14, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *