Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Exploring Death Valley

Sand Dunes, Death Valley

Sand dunes make noises

EXPLORING DEATH VALLEY (From our book, cited below) ©Bert and Jane Gildart: In Death Valley (map), not far from Badwater, California (an expanse of foul-tasting water and dreadful land that is also the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere), there extends a forbidding landscape officially known as the Devil’s Golf Course. Throughout the year there are many days in this area that often are very hot, still and unearthly quiet.

One January day several years ago, we walked into this jagged land and heard sounds during lulls in our conversation. Pausing and cupping our ears, we listened. All around us, the ground spoke: it snapped, it crackled, and it popped.

Although the sound emanated from beneath our feet, the cause remained a mystery, and it wasn’t until Ranger/Naturalist Charlie Calligan enlightened us at an evening program that the mystery became apparent. Calligan explained that the sounds were the results of the incredibly dry air sucking every last drip of moisture from the chalky landscape. The friction of salt granule against collapsed salt granule created the snapping, cracking and popping. Intriguing as that phenomenon proved to be, we also learned that it was just one of the park’s many mysteries…

Badwater, Death Valley

Badwater, where the Amargosa evaporates

The above was taken from our book: A Falcon Guide, Death Valley, A Guide to Exploring the Great Outdoors. The book was published in 2005 by Globe Pequot Press and is available from them and from the book store operated by the park’s Natural History Association.

Outside of parks in Alaska, Death Valley is the nation’s largest national park, and if you plan to visit it, you’ll benefit from our repeated trips and month’s of research.

Coyote Stalking Food

Coyote stalking Death Valley

The park is an ideal place in which to spend a week or two in the fall, winter or spring, and we’ve done so repeatedly. During these trips, we’ve seen coyotes stalking the desert floor, searching perhaps for a careless kangaroo rat. We’ve trailed the Amaragosa River from where it flows with grace and power into the park, and then watched it get sucked dry and literally disappear in a place called Bad Water.Death Valley is a special park and we count ourselves among the fortunate to have spent so much time exploring its 1200-foot high mountains—and its deep desert floor, which descends at one point to -272 feet.

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