©Bert Gildart: Death Valley at last, and how wonderful this austere valley does look. In a way it looked like home for Janie and I have spent months here exploring the park’s loftiest regions then descending to its lowest regions.
In fact at -282 feet Death Valley’s Bad Water holds the record for lowest place in North America. In part because of its elevation this national park claims to be the hottest place in the world, but it is these extremes that make it so remarkable. About 15 year ago Janie and I spent months here producing an exploring guide for Falcon Press. The book is still on the stands, but it is one we’d like to update.
In other words, we’d like an excuse to spend more time in Death Valley.
But to catch up a bit on our travel route. Our last stop before descending to Furnace Creek was Beatty, which we reached after leaving Jackpot, Nevada several days ago. From there we followed 93 south to Ely, then took 6 to Tonopah, then 9 to Beatty. From there we followed 374 into Death Valley. By so doing we bypassed Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. Though we have pulled our Airstream through these two cities, it is not something we particularly enjoy, especially when some of the small Nevada towns are so colorful.
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L to R: Not sure of the juxtaposition of plane and sign for brothel, other than to indicate many have crash landed here (”cribs” are just behind my vantage); Texas Spring campground; Salt Creek, home to the endangered pup fish with a story that spans the ages.
In Beatty, we stayed at a hot springs, located about a mile from a local brothel. Proprietors have positioned a plane near the entrance, and I’m not sure what message they intend, other than to suggest that many have “crash landed” here.
Yesterday was our first real day in Death Valley and we spent most of the day on old familiar trails, most notably Salt Creek, where we looked for the Desert Pup Fish. In winter they burrow into the banks so we didn’t see any, but their known existence adds to the host of incredible stories contained in this huge national park.
As we wrote about 12 years ago in our book:
“The park has rocks that move, sands that sing, historical characters who bamboozled their followers at every turn…”
We are going to spend the next couple of days reacquainting ourselves with as much as this desert park as we can possible squeeze in. If you are in the vicinity you should do the same!
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS THIS TIME LAST YEAR:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy