I had visited Death Valley once before in 2011 (?) but my time there was cut short to a day because I hadn’t realized that my flight home was to depart a few hours after me and a friend had arrived there from LA. Typical me. Trekking back out there for a few days had always been on my radar, so it was exhilarating to head back there this year. Although I had briefly visited some of the hot spots on my previous day trip, they were even more astonishing the second time around, as was the temperature, which hit 115°-125° depending on which thermometer you read (weather app vs car). Watching the sun set, and the moon rise from above the lowest elevation in North America was nothing short of surreal. A popular tourist spot, everyone had all but left by the time the sun was dashing behind the mountains, leaving me and my girlfriend standing on top of rock formations watching as stars, planets, and everything in between awoke.
In a region that has 3 hotels, and something like 3-4 gas stations in over 5,000sqmi of arid, dry, and unforgiving terrain you couldn’t help but think that there was one stretch of land there that has yet seen a human footprint, which was a humbling thought to say the least, particularly when reminding yourself that you’re still in the US.
With enough time camping in the desert, walking across sand dunes feeling like you’re a part in Lawrence of Arabia, licking pure salt deposits, walking through “ghost towns”, and hiking through rock formations, you’ll surely begin questioning what planet you’re on, exactly.
If you’ve ever wondered the significance of the human race in the universe, you’d need not go anywhere but here to realize that, well, it’s not much.