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

Badwater, Where an Entire River Disappears

©Bert Gildart: This morning our good friends Eric and Sue Hansen departed, but not until after Eric and I had one more crack at photography. Our goal was to try and capture the beauty of Badwater, lowest place in North America. The challenge was to interpret what is represented at -282 feet below sea level. In an attempt to accomplish our goal we departed Furnace Creek at 5:30 this morning and drove the 20 miles to Badwater. Sun rises about 6:30 and we wanted plenty of time for site location. En route, we saw a kit fox in the pre-dawn light.


Essentially, Bad water represents the evaporation of the Amargosa River, which starts outside of Death Valley in what can at times be a raging torrent. But all that changes when the river turns north at the southern end of this valley and then begins to flow north into the park, but all the while dropping, dropping, dropping. When at last the river reaches Badwater the air is so dry that the river completely evaporates, leaving in its wake the area known as Badwater; and then, just a little further north, an area that is appreciatively called the Devil’s Golf Course.

Telescope peak reflects in Badwater

Telescope peak reflects in Badwater


Back dropping this scene is Telescope Peak, which soars to an elevation of 11, 049 feet above sea level. Add to that 282 feet and that is the relief you experience as your eyes rise from Badwater to snow-capped Telescope Peak. Both areas are white, but both areas represent decidedly different types of environments. In one you could expire from frost, the other from desiccation. And some, of course, have.


Eric and I returned to our campers about 8 and they departed about 9. With a little more time on my hands I decided to experiment with Internet reception. Recently the Visitor Center, located about one mile away, installed a wireless communication package and offers it free of charge, but officials tell you that you must be on site.

Our Wilson booster and antenna, however, is supposed to augment signal strength by 10 times, and this morning we decided to try it out. Attaching all the appropriate cords we quickly discovered that we can, in fact, get reception inside our Airstream. (The antenna is mounted outside on one of the side windows.) For me, that is a great relief as I can now work from the comfort of our Airstream and create postings and complete stories, soon to be sent via Death Valley’s complimentary wireless setup. Except at night, the bulk of our power demands are met by the two solar panels Airstream mounted on top as part of the Safari’s LS package.

Devils golf course

Devil's golf course


We’ll be here for about a week, and each day will devote some portion to writing, but much as well to photography. Desert gold is starting to bloom and in some areas is beginning to fill entire canyons. We wish the Hansen could have stayed to enjoy all this park will soon be offering.

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