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"Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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"Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

Well, a lot of it IS just dirt and rocks. But then, the Mona Lisa is just some paint and canvas that we can find at any art supply store, right? The greatest of art is partly about the material but a lot more about the artist.

I don’t think I posted this from a couple of weeks ago from sfgate.com (website of the San Francisco Comical). The travel section lets people submit stories about their trips, and these folks loved Death Valley. It isn’t really a travel article and doesn’t have a lot of detail; it’s more like a post here from people who had a great trip.

www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi…

A few comments on some of the reader posts:

“pm93513” did not specify that these sites are not on Hwy 168. They are on Big Pine Road which takes off from 168 east of Big Pine, and 4wd might be needed. It goes to Eureka Dunes and eventually ends up near Scotty's Castle, over 70 miles with no towns or services and previous few ranger patrols. Not for the faint of heart, or for folks who rely on GPS to get to Costco and feel naked without their cell phones. 93513 is the ZIP code for Big Pine, so this may just be an oversight because this person is so familiar with the area.

From “berkeleyjim”: This is true. Drying clothes is so easy in Death Valley! Ditto for people. If you go swimming, you’ll be almost totally dry within a few minutes of getting out of the water (and the evaporation on your skin is refreshing).

“Austin78704” suggests seeing the pupfish. They are indeed among the most exciting sights in Death Valley. By now, Salt Creek may be drying up and receding for the summer, so the peak pupfish season might be over. When the water reaches a high salinity range, the fishies go dormant. It’s called estivation rather than hibernation, meaning they are inactive in warm weather rather than in winter like bears. But for visitors in March or April (times vary depending on the overall weather pattern), you might be lucky and see thousands of finger-size, silvery fish darting along the creek.

Redlands, California
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1. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

It is for me. Signed, 60 years in California and still waiting. . . :-)

Seriously, there are some places I'm passionate about that are completely "meh" to others. We all respond to landscapes differently--but for those who don't know how they might react to DV, its useful to see others' views and reports.

Signed again, Off to Yosemite and Avebury (England). . .again. . . this summer.

Edited: 04 May 2012, 22:18
Lewiston, California
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2. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

Thanks Frisco! You are indeed the go to person for so much.

PS I am off to The Trinity Alps next week for 4 months after 3 plus months in my beloved Mexico.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

Frisco,

I laughed when reading this column in the paper. They really wanted to experience Death Valley but couldn't quite make it.

Considering it's one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, you get a lot. OK, maybe the splurge of the Inn isn't everyone's idea of perfection, but it's darn close. This said when writing from a windy 59 degree San Francisco when I'd really rather have a balmy 99 degree Death Valley.

San Diego...
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4. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

I think they have sand too.

Uden, The...
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5. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

I wonder why Salt Creek always is mentioned for pupfish instead Ash Meadows

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwTf5caK8dk

Edited: 05 May 2012, 11:12
Tucson, Arizona
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6. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

Dirt and sand is missing the word spiritual. Dirt and sand and home to the soul of man. It is not only that some of us are at home in the desert, it is that the desert found in Death Valley and other places on earth returns us to our spiritual place. ( It could be that pupfish feel the same way.)

ZB

London, United...
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7. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

I bet you guys are envious of people like me... experiencing Death Valley for the first time. Forty days to go.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

Definitely LDN. Have fun!

San Francisco
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9. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

** "I wonder why Salt Creek always is mentioned for pupfish instead Ash Meadows" **

The main reason must be that the Ash Meadows (Devil's Hole) pupfish is not accessible to visitors, because it is endangered and its habitat is off limits. In recent years, the annual census by researchers has counted 100 or less individuals.

Its home is Devil's Hole, a "bottomless" water-filled cave at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. People can visit Ash Meadows, but Devil's Hole is closed off with a security gate and covered by surveillance cameras, for both habitat protection and public safety.

I know it's hyperbole to call it a bottomless pit, but if you wanted to dig the proverbial hole to China, I’d suggest starting here. Its true depth has never been determined. Years ago, when security was looser, several divers vanished after trespassing into the cave and no trace of them has ever been found. Maybe they made it to China. Here's another tidbit. At the moment of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco, the water level in Devil’s Hole dropped drastically. I don't recall the exact figure, but it was several feet and it was instantaneous, so sudden that scientific instruments in the water were destroyed. And at that moment, a drop in the water level was also recorded in the Florida Everglades. Mebbe coincidence; mebbe evidence that everything in the universe actually is interrelated and nothing happens in a vacuum.

There are several pupfish species in the DV area, including Salt Creek, Devil’s Hole, Cottonball Marsh, and Saratoga Springs. Anciently, those within the park were one species and lived in the inland sea that covered all of Death Valley to about 600’ deep (the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. is 555’ tall). Nearby, other bodies of water host the Shoshone and Owens species, and other ancient seas of the Great Basin have their own pupfish species. As the Earth became warmer, the seas shrank and left isolated small bodies of water, and the fish trapped in each one evolved gradually to adapt to their new home. Now, because the elevation, climate, water temperature and salinity, vegetation, and other conditions vary at each location, each pupfish species can survive only in its own habitat; you couldn’t transplant any of them and have them survive.

Edited: 15 July 2012, 03:12
Uden, The...
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10. Re: "Death Valley is not just dirt and rocks"

If I remember correctly we saw pupfish in Ash Meadows at Kings Pool at Point of Rock Springs. Devils Hole was closed indeed.

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