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Today, we continue and finish our simmering tour of the Big Valley straddling Nevada and California. This setting truly has it all, including one of the most clear and majestic celestial displays anywhere in the world!

Early Human History: Four Native American cultures are known to have lived in the area during the last 10,000 years (at least that long). The first known group, the Nevares Spring People, were hunter-gatherers who arrived in the area perhaps 9,000 years ago (about 7,000 BCE). At that time there were still small lakes in the region, as well as in neighboring Panamint Valley. The climate was also milder. Large game animals were plentiful. These animals denote the reason why humans migrated here. Like everywhere else in the world and throughout time, humans followed the herds for food and articles of clothing, systematically destroying most of the game. By 5,000 years ago (about 3,000 BCE), the Mesquite Flat People wandered into the region, at which time the Nevares Spring People may have already moved elsewhere since the area now hosted fewer animal species. Around 2,000 years ago, the Saratoga Spring People wanted into the region.

They, too, entered the valley, but this time their tribe adapted to a harsh climate that was probably already hot, dry desert. The reason is because their culture was a more advanced at hunter-gatherer society. They were also skillful at handcrafts. We know these people by mysterious stone patterns in the valley that were left when they finally moved on.

Nature's nutritional pantry––pinyon pine:

Some 1,000 years ago, the nomadic Timbisha (formerly called Shoshone; also known as Panamint or Koso) joined the short roster of nomadic emigrants to Death Valley. They hunted sparse wildlife and supplemented their diets with mesquite beans and piñon pine nuts, which are well known for their high caloric intake. Because of the wide altitude differential between valley bottom and mountain ridges, especially to the west, the Timbisha practiced a vertical migration pattern to sustain their presence here. Their winter camps were located near reliable water sources in the valley bottoms. As the spring and summer progressed and the weather warmed, they followed the grasses and other plant food sources that ripened at progressively higher altitudes. November found them at the very top of the mountain ridges where they harvested pine nuts before moving back to the valley bottom for winter.

The Next Wave: In time, this strange and beguiling territory was encroached upon by migrant Anglo during the California Gold Rush. In December 1849, two groups of California-bound Anglo travelers with perhaps 100 wagons found their way into Death Valley after getting lost on what they thought was a shortcut off the Old Spanish Trail. Called the Bennett-Arcane Party, they searched the valley but were unable to find a pass over the mountains for weeks. Fortunately, they did find fresh water at various springs and they survived by eating several of their oxen. They also used the wood of their wagons to cook the meat and make jerky. The place where these virtual pilgrims survived is today referred to as "Burned Wagons Camp," located near the sand dunes. After finally abandoning their wagons, they managed to hike out of the valley. The fable of the event claims that, just after leaving the region, one of the women in the group turned and said, Goodbye Death Valley, unofficially giving it the name by which we know it today. Included in this party was William Lewis Manly, whose autobiographical book, Death Valley in '49, detailed the trek and popularized the area. Geologists later named the prehistoric lake that once filled the valley after him.

After an unusual drenching during 2005's rainy season, the lake returned (a most unusual sight, indeed):

(Continues after the fold.)

Boom And Bust: The ores that are most famously associated with Death Valley are also the easiest to collect and the most profitable, namely evaporate deposits such as salts, borate and talc. Borax was found in 1881 near Furnace Creek, which was then called Greenland, an obviously facetious name.

Later that year, the Eagle Borax Works became Death Valley's first commercial borax operation, processing ore in late 1883 or early 1884, then continuing until 1888. This mining and smelting company produced borax to make soap, mainly for industrial uses. It was shipped out of the valley 165 miles (266 km) to the Mojave rail head in ten-ton capacity wagons pulled by sturdy twenty-mule teams. (Actually, there were teams of eighteen mules and two horses each.)

The teams averaged 2 miles an hour and required about thirty days to complete the round trip. The trade name "20-Mule Team Borax" was established after a new owner acquired the Pacific Coast Borax Company in 1890. Mining continued after the collapse of that relatively short-lived empire. By the late 1920s, the region was the world's number one source of borax. Geologically speaking, Furnace Creek Formation is 4 to 6 million years old and the primary source of borate minerals gathered from Death Valley's playas.

In time, I think the mules (and the two horses) must have threatened to go on strike and the company used this iron replacement to haul the ore. . .

Other visitors stayed to prospect and mine copper, gold, lead and silver. These sporadic mining ventures were hampered by the remote location of mines and the typically harsh desert environment. Generally, Death Valley was not a rag-to-riches enterprise, although in December 1903, two prospectors got lucky. They were looking for silver when, quite by accident, one of them discovered an immense ledge of free-milling gold. The find was right next to the duo's work site. They named their claim the Keane Wonder Mine. This started a minor, but fleeting gold rush into the area. Eventually, only a few mines extracted enough metal ore to make their operations worthwhile. The boom towns, which sprang up around these mines, flourished during the first decade of the 20th Century but soon declined after the financial crisis of the so-called Panic of 1907.

Flora And Fauna: Typically, the designate of the park, Death Valley, gives the impression to most people that nothing lives here other than tourists and those who serve them in the tourist industry, including the park rangers who manage the park. However, this wan, hot and dry territory is receptive to a variety species of plants and animals that have adapted to its desert environment; a woefully thirsty setting where standing water is as rare as a blooming rose. Several of the larger springs derive their water from a regional aquifer which extends as far east as southern Nevada and Utah. Much of the water in this aquifer has been there for thousands of years, at least since the Pleistocene ice ages (from 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago). Today's drier climate does not provide enough precipitation to recharge the aquifer at the rate at which water is being withdrawn. Still, it follows there's water here, that is, for anyone who knows where and when to find it. Here's a small list of photos of some of the valley's critter inhabitants:

Our grand pappy's and such used to work here. . .

"I'm walking here!"

We live here, too (zebra tailed lizard). . .

We're the rams who make the ewes turn (ahem). . .

I'm a desert tortoise. . .not a turtle. . .which means I don't swim and live in water. . .

We're also ubiquitous. . .if you climb high and can find our species. . .

[Image removed because of request from copyright holder.]

You don't even want to mess with me, dude!

And don't call me "Kitty!"

You can call me by that name. I'm Millie the Kid and I own Rich and live with him:

Ecozones: From the lowest to highest elevations, various terrestrial ecozones support a variety of wildlife, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, and 2 species of native fish (alive and well in Salt Creek and Cottonball Marsh). Small mammals (such as the aforementioned gallery on display) are more numerous than large mammals such as bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, kit foxes, cougars (mountain lions) and mule deer. About 1,000 species of plants, 23 of which are not found anywhere else, manage a firm foothold on the terrain and desiccated environment. These include creosote bush, desert holly and mesquite thrive at the lower elevations, and sage up through shadescale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, piñon-juniper, thence to limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands in higher elevations. Some plants and trees such as the creosote bush and mesquite have taproot systems that can extend 50 feet into the ground to take advantage of a year-round supply of ground water. Water is obviously the key to survival here for the many life forms. The diversity of Death Valley's plant communities also results partly from the region's location in a transition zone between the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin Desert and the Sonoran Desert. Ergo, the unusually diverse and abundant forms of life found here.

Of course, on those unusual wet years the valley takes on a whole new appearance and adds color with a variety of wildflowers drawing photographers hundreds or thousands of miles just to get the shot. Here are just some of the many types of flowers that grace the landscape, however ephemeral their showcase:

Believe it or not, one year not too long ago one entire valley was covered with an outrageous flower display. . .

Tourism: What keeps Death Valley alive since those days is the tourism industry? People, namely tourists. Early on, to accommodate the advent of tourism tent houses were built in the 1920s (where Stovepipe Wells is now located). Many of these venturesome tourists flocked to resorts built around natural springs that were thought to have curative and restorative properties. In 1927, Pacific Coast Borax turned their soap-mining interests by mining gold from tourist's pockets. All it took was converting crew quarters of its Furnace Creek Ranch into the Furnace Creek Inn and Resort. When the spring at Furnace Creek was later diverted to develop the resort, surrounding marshes and wetlands started to shrink. Before long, the park had to devise a new scheme to attract tourists by making it a popular winter destination. Other facilities that started off as private getaways were later opened to the public, most notably Death Valley Ranch, better known as Scotty's Castle. This large and exotic ranch home built in the Spanish Revival style became a hotel in the late 1930s, largely because of the fame of Death Valley Scotty, and became a major tourist attraction. His real name was Walter Scott (but no relation to the famous Scottish poet and writer with the same name). Alleged to be a successful gold miner, Death Valley Scotty pretended to own his castle, claiming to have built the mansion with profits from his mine. Neither claim was true. The real owner, Chicago millionaire Albert Mussey Johnson, provided the funds and encouraged the myth. When asked by reporters about his connection to Walter Scott's castle, Johnson replied that he was Mr. Scott's banker. He obviously enjoyed living the life of an incognito onlooker.

The "surrogate" owner (Scotty) in his declining wealthy years:

Scotty sitting smug and cozy with the Johnson's on either side:

Bonus Details: The deep Death Valley basin has a diverse and complex geologic history, filled with sediment (a light yellow color) eroded from the surrounding mountains. Black lines on geologic maps show some of the many major faults that created the valley. Since its formation, the area that comprises the park has experienced at least four major periods of extensive volcanism, three or four periods of major sedimentation, also several intervals of major tectonic deformation where the crust has been reshaped. Two periods of glaciation have also affected the area, though no glaciers ever existed in the ranges now in the park.

Trails: There are too many trails in the park to mention, scores of hiking trails of varying lengths and levels of hiking difficulties ― but with this proviso: In Death Valley, hikers are on their own and need to carry plenty of water. Make that a copious amount of water especially during the warm and hotter months. Hikers should always use common sense, especially paying attention to the heat and dry conditions. There are literally thousands of hiking possibilities to choose from when exploring the valley. The normal season for visiting the park is from October to April, and even then temperatures can soar. Knowing one’s limitations is therefore salient advice that applies to anyone desiring a short or long hike. Otherwise, there are resorts and paved roads and plenty to see and do here, even while driving and gawking at the visceral scenery in the comfort of one’s air-conditioned vehicle. At night, the dark sky is brimming with scintillating starry points. Death Valley is one of the best places on the planet to observe the heavens due to the usual dark sky conditions and cloudless skies. Just remember: This is desert terrain. This apt notice means the valley cools down appreciably when the sun goes down, including during the warmer months. If the wind stirs, the chill factor can cool the body even more. Mindful visitors should therefore wear appropriate clothing day or night. Keeping one's physical body feeling comfortable stave off everything from heat exhaustion (which can easily lead to heat stroke), headaches from dehydration, or feeling poorly and having a bad attitude.The advice is visitors need to drink large of water here, but also frequently snack on salty or sweet-tasting morsels that help the body maintain a physiological and psychological equilibrium. Incidentally, never hydrate one’s body in hot temperature extremes without also snacking. Without salt and sugar when drinking water, the risk of an electrolyte imbalance increases, which in medical terms is called hypothermia––deadly results if not soon reversed. (See below for names of trails throughout Death Valley.)

Very typical Death Valley hiking terrain (this is Willow Canyon):

And this type of country:

How about some parting shots to remember this most singular setting with an iconic moniker. . .

Ubehebe Crater (testimony to DV's primal volcanism days):

From a lofty and long view:


Hiking the dunes:

The haunt of a lingering sunset:

Directions: The main road transecting Death Valley from east to west is California Hwy. 190. On the eastern border is Nevada, where Route 95 parallels the park from north to south with connecting highways at Scotty's Junction (SR 267), Beatty (SR 374) and Lathrop Wells (SR 373). Coming from the west, SR 14 and US Route 395 lead to Ridgecrest, California, where SR 178 heads east (into the park). Further north on Hwy. 395 at Olancha, California, Hwy. 190 joins and enters the park, and further north at Lone Pine, California, Hwy. 136 joins Hwy. 190 headed east into the park. South of Death Valley, I-15 routes through Baker, California. From here, take SR 127 which runs north from Baker to Shoshone, and take the Death Valley Junction, with connections on SR 178 from Shoshone and another connection with California Hwy. 190 at the Death Valley Junction.

Contact Information: Death Valley National Park, P. O. Box 579, Death Valley CA 92328. Phone (visitor information): 760-786-3200. Fax 786-3283. Email: non-listed. Resort Information (operated by Xanterra): Furnace Creek Resort, P. O. Box 187, Death Valley CA 92328. Physical Address: Hwy. 190, Death Valley 92328. Phone: 760-786.2345. Fax 786.2514. Central Reservations: Phone: 800-236.7916. Fax 303-297.3175. Email:

And so, DKos community, we come to the end of another armchair tour. There will be other scenic places to tour and more supplemental topics to read and think about, so stay tuned for a continuation in this series. (Which, by the way, there is a very special series that will post later this afternoon, say, around 3:30 or 4 (MST) on the indomitable, and somewhat autocratic, Major John Wesley Powell. This series with an historical theme will run for the next seven days. For those of you interested in Western American history of the late 19th Century, and interested in reading about a gripping adventure of his legendary 1869 expedition of the Green and Colorado rivers canyon country, this subject matter is for you.)

As always, your thoughtful commentaries are welcomed.


Hiking Seasons:

The best time to hike in Death Valley is from October through April. Summer temperatures can be dangerous in the park's lower elevations. Even during spring and autumn the heat can be unbearable for most people. Avoid hiking on the salt flats or anywhere below sea level when it's hot. Save the low elevation hikes for the cooler winter days. The high peaks are a pleasant escape from the heat in summer, but are usually covered with snow in the winter and spring. If you must climb them during winter season, be sure to be properly equipped with adequate winter clothing, an ice axe and crampons.

Solitude is the norm in the park's backcountry, but in the springtime and on holiday weekends you will see other people, especially at the most popular hiking locations.


Due to the dry climate of Death Valley, you must drink more water here than in other places, even in the cooler winter months. Always carry adequate water (at least 2 liters for a short winter dayhike, 1 gallon or more for longer warm season hikes and overnighters). Don't "save it for later", be sure to drink it as you hike. If you are feeling thirsty, you are getting dehydrated. Springs and other natural water sources are rare and should not be considered reliable. Boil or treat water from these sources before using.

On Death Valley’s NPS site there are scores of hiking trails, from easy to moderate to "Why in the hell did I take this so-called trail?” For instance, these recommendations:

     Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail
     Gower Gulch Loop
     Desolation Canyon
     Natural Bridge Canyon
     Badwater Salt Flat
     Salt Creek Interpretive Trail
     Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
     Mosaic Canyon
     Titus Canyon Narrows
     Dante’s Ridge
     Little Hebe Crater Trail

And there are the more adventurous hikes for the most adventurous hikers. . .Death Valley Buttes; Fall Canyon; Little Bridge Canyon.

If it’s too hot for hiking during your time of visit, then the recommendation (for those in sound physical shape) is to go higher. For instance, Wildrose Peak and Telescope Peak trails.

Every trail name just mentioned can easily be found on Google and therein find the corresponding topo maps and trail description.

Happy and safe trails wherever you wonder and wander in this splendorous national park, like no other!

Originally posted to SciTech on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:36 AM PST.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nicely done! (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks richholtzin!

  •  I don't usually comment in your diaries, but (12+ / 0-)

    I want you to know how much I appreciate your diaries.

    Thank you for all the exceptional work you do to bring them to us!  I know it is a lot of work to do so, but it is also, obviously, a labor of love.

    "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

    by Naniboujou on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:02:48 AM PST

    •  that is a penultimate compliment. . . (10+ / 0-)

      Naniboujou, and I sincerely thank you for saying it. A labor of love, I'm not sure about such, but I really, really do enjoy posting these diaries with this exceptional community, and mainly because it gives me the sense that I never retired from the trail-tramping educator's field work. And after so many decades hiking over hill and dale and canyon and mountainous terrain I get a chance to share all of the experiences with all of you. I only wish sometimes I could afford an editor before releasing these rough drafts. But so far most people in the community are tolerate of the crude manner of how I go about organizing the descriptions and letting the info flow. Incidentally, I really love and support your tag about vandalism. I wish more people would feel and think the same way. I know I do.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:21:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gorgeous colors. (5+ / 0-)

    I had no idea there were so many different flowers in Death Valley.  Beautiful.  

    Millie the Kid is beautiful also. :)

    I am a work in progress. Still.

    by broths on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:07:52 AM PST

    •  colors galore. . . (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      broths, ExStr8, Mary Mike, foresterbob, KenBee

      broths, when Nature's spigot generously flows. And that cat of mine. . .she keeps me under paw and I am constantly having to obey her ever whim. Cats. . .you can't train 'em and you can't ignore 'em. She is also aptly named "Millie the Kid" a 12 or 13-year-old that never seems to grow up. (Then again, sometimes I feel that way about myself.) Thanks, as always for your support and commentary. Most appreciated.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:18:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another super series on our national treasures! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Rich. Really fascinating. Feel like I just toured the place! Colors were a surprise.

    I am gratified to see our wise Rescue Rangers moving your first rate diaries up to the Community Spotlight where more of us DKossacks have a chance of picking them up.

    So thanks also, Rescue Rangers!!!!

  •  Spectacular, richholtzin. (6+ / 0-)

    Your Millie could be twin to my Rocky.  He also does not tolerate being ignored.  

    Dwell on the beauty of life. ~ Marcus Aurelius

    by Joy of Fishes on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:18:21 AM PST

  •  It's not for me (6+ / 0-)

    especially at my age, but it's starkly beautiful.  Well done, sir!  

    •  my thanks. . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Mike, broths, foresterbob, KenBee

      and just so you know, xyz, I once led some hiking tours here with a group of Elderhostels (now called "Road Scholar" the program), and some of those folks were in their 80s. They kicked my butt! So, sometimes age has got nothing to do with hiking prowess. Anyway, I am glad you enjoyed the tour, even by osmosis.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:54:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wow (5+ / 0-)

    thanks for travelogue of this beautiful place.
    I hope it stays this way - unspoiled.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 11:28:11 AM PST

  •  Tour and more (8+ / 0-)

    Wonderful and informative again! I love Millie and I miss my Susie who has been gone four years next month. She walked all over us and was 21 when we lost her. Enjoy Millie and thanks for her picture. DV is evidently an amazing place and, again, thank you for taking the time to share this with all of us. I just had no idea of all DV has to offer. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it and I look forward to more. It is a great relief from all of the other "noise" we read about. My favorite diaries are Dawn Chorus on Sunday and the kitty diaries every day. I am concerned about the "sequester" and how it is going to effect the national parks. It sounds as though they are going to cut the parks along with everything else. It is disgraceful!

    •  as always, gracias, wynative. . . (6+ / 0-)

      for your support and commentaries. Today, by the way, around 4 my time (MST), I am posting the first of a 9-part diary series on the epic John Wesley Powell (his first 1869 expedition down river to the end of the Grand Canyon), starting there in your big, wonderful state. . .Wyoming. . .assuming that's where you live. His starting point was Green River, by the way. As for your Susie. . .and her age. . .I lost "Grandma," as I called my dear, darling Pumpkin the Pensive a couple of years ago, and she was going on a healthy 22 years of youth. It's funny, but miss her today as though she just left yesterday. It's difficult to get over losing a good friend, whether pet or human. And, yes, DV is a peerless place and I have heard similar comments (such as yours) from others who came to realize this huge valley setting is truly special. Anyway, you just reminded me: click on Dawn Chorus, her diary, and that always makes my day, as well. Hope to see you on today's tour and the rest of the saga of Major Powell. Next Saturday I will also post another national park tour, this time to the stunning and rugged beauty of Capitol Reef and the Waterpocket Fold country. Something tells me you and others don't want to miss being on that tour.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:29:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wyoming (4+ / 0-)

        Yes, I live 52 miles from Yellowstone. The local CoC is terrified that the sequester will shut down Yellowstone because tourism is the lifeblood of this town. The town nearest us is Powell, I believe named for John Wesley Powell. I will join you later today on your diary and will wait anxiously for the Capitol Reef (we hope to go there this Spring) and Waterpocket Fold (? never hear of that one) tour next week.

        •  I know right where you are. . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          broths, foresterbob, KenBee

          wynative. Used to fly in that neck of the woods (for an airlines many, many years ago). . .all the garden spots, including Miles City (not a garden), Duluth (colder than a you know what), and Casper (now there's a wiff of air that doesn't go down too easy . . .the chemical/oil smells). Anyway, I am going to relate in this 9-part series the entire 1869 intrigue, which, as you may or may not know, Major Powell had telescoped his epic tome, meaning he included both expeditions, yet the readers in his time, and for some many years after, never knew there were two different trips. As for closing down the 'Yellow,' no way; it's not going to happen. This lame Congress and the Pres. has got to come to their senses and stop mucking around with what's really important and least important (i.e., their excessive salaries, wonton spending for stuff we no longer need to spend money on), and on. I'm hurrying to put the final touches on today's Powell diary. P. S. You are going to go nuts (in a good way) when you see the Waterpocket Fold country! Guaranteed!

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:29:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  ...thanks again...when's the book come out?... (6+ / 0-)

    Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences.

    by paradise50 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:32:23 PM PST

  •  An online Death Valley hikes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GDbot, broths, foresterbob, KenBee, MRA NY

    website that is absolutely awesome is Steve Hall's site
    which has 166 reviews of completed hikes. He's apparently aiming for a total of 200 destinations. Not only does he grade the ease of hikes, from family friendly to needing rock climbing skills and/or equipment, the hikes are listed in a regional order, and he takes some great photographs. For the last two years I've used his website as a resource to research which obscure place I want to visit next.

    Thanks again Rich for gifting us with your incredible diaries. I truly enjoy each and every one.

    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

    by CA ridebalanced on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:07:18 PM PST

    •  DK ate my link, here it is again: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GDbot, broths, KenBee

      Steve Halls Death Valley Adventures is at;

      All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

      by CA ridebalanced on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:09:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this person, Steve. . . (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GDbot, broths, foresterbob, KenBee, MRA NY

      now he's someone I really have to get in touch with, because I still get asked by friends and former students to lead a hike or two in Death Valley. Why should I? I mean, this guy knows and does it all. (And I'm betting his knees are in much better shape than mine. . .I've got about 8,000 miles backpacking on 'em, so I am following the advice of a sage who once told me that it's "better to wear out. . .than rust out!" HA! Anyway, I got the link, it is in my bookmarks, and I thank you CA ridebalanced. And I thought I was a hiking over-the-top dude. Not like this guy. I take it you have hiked with him???

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:24:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I've never hiked with him. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foresterbob, KenBee

        I do love the website and really admire his dedication, I have to admit. It occurred to me that you would enjoy it also. So I shared. You're very welcome, it's the least I could do to repay you for all of the hard work you put into your diaries.
        I've met and talked to most of the people who hike with the Death Valley Hiker Association though. It was one of them that told me about Steve Hall's website. If you think YOU are old, meet the senior DVHA members. There are a couple of very senior members.
        I notice that their last posted hike was November 2010, so I can't tell you what is happening with the group these days.

        All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

        by CA ridebalanced on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:19:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have been thoroughly enjoying your diaries, (6+ / 0-)

    and Daily Kos is a richer space for them.

     I have lived in this part of the world for a few decades so I am intimately familiar with most of the places you have written about. I don't think Lake Powell had filled completely when I first moved here but tales of discarded marine batteries and empty beer and oil cans on the lake bottom continue to feed my doubts about our collective ability to intelligently design our world and a future.

    I was "lucky" to drive in to DV the night of the big blizzard at the end of the record season of 2004-2005, sometime in Jan. or Feb. '05 to meet some friends. The place is so big our 3 days couldn't do it justice, but I was overwhelmed by the "lake" and some of the wildflowers that did come out after the storm. We were flooded out of our downstairs rooms at the other "budget" place, not Furnace Creek, and upgraded to the second floor. The next couple days were an education about how nature takes advantage of extreme weather events, rare flowers exploding everywhere. Being humbled by weather events is an important life experience IMHO.

    Here is a good U2b video of how fast a flash flood can arrive:

    Please don't do a diary about Wire Pass area. I am now of the opinion that some areas should be completely photo documented for all to be enjoyed in depth and then declared "Beyond Wilderness - No Humans Allowed for 99 Years" Or 199 Years.

    There is no they, We will sink or swim together.... We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness

    by GDbot on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:29:50 PM PST

    •  I have never seen such a video... (0+ / 0-)

      and I thank you for sending it. Being in the field for so long I have only experienced a few flash floods, including one incident that more or less stranded myself and an entourage of field institute students for about a half-hour. Still, I was on high ground and they thought the experience was the highlight of their tour (but I know they really meant to say it was my week-long series of jokes and humor that should've taken the cake. Anyway, I hope future viewers of this commentary section see this video. It is one of the most telling that I have ever seen. No kidding. Thank you posting something so real and tangible and maybe it will keep people from messing about with their so-called and presumed super SUVs and such by crossing such powerful waters. I once worked SAR doing this sort of thing, the aftermath, and never once found a living soul who tangled with such fast-flowing water. 11 to 13 mph, I think. Just think: a clastic flow can get up to around 30 mph. Thanks for the wake-up call, GDbot, from myself and I think I am speaking for all of the DKos community listening in, so to say.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:58:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Photos should be credited. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Repeated Copyright Violations (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In each of Rich's diaries the photos are not credited because they are stolen from various sites.

      The author needs to learn about copyright and as he stole a Getty image he just might learn the hard way.

      I don't want to troll or simply criticize so here is the right way to deal with getting pics for your diary:

      1) Look for artists that use Creative Commons non-commercial attribution licenses.

      2) Use the work and supply a link back to the page you found it on.

      3) This is all that needs to be done. You do not need to contact the artist but it is polite to do so anyway.

      To locate the owner of an image you have "found" that is not credited...

      1) Bring up the Google image page.

      2) Drag and Drop the image on the search box.

      3) You will usually find the owner in the links listed.

      If an image is marked © date or © date, All Rights Reserved. You must contact the owner to gain rights to the image.

      Most of us in the landscape photography community would make a free grant for a use of this nature. After the image has been stolen the artist is generally less willing to make a deal. Getty does not deal and their fees are very high.

      I have been enjoying this series of diaries but the disrespect shown by the author for artists is not acceptable.

      I commented on the first diary as did a another fellow. The comments were not answered by the author.

      I am hoping this is simply a matter of education so I have included some instruction on how to do it correctly.

      Here are the results of a couple of images I dropped on Google Image Search:

      MiMi Ditchie - © Getty

      Steve Kossack - Copyright © 2010 Steve Kossack

      Laurence Madson

      Oh and btw - The valley of flowers is actually in India…

      My message is keep writing as these are good diaries. But... PLEASE get your act together with the images.

      You could have much better pics that are actually legal and help to promote rather then demote the arts.

      •  As a photographer, I realize photos are easy to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        obtain on the internet.  

        However, if an author used my photos for such an article as this, whose purpose is to inform and educate, I probably wouldn't mind all that much IF the author at least had the courtesy to credit my work.

        Yes, it takes a little extra time and a little extra space for photo credits, but it's the least one can do when using the work of others to illustrate one's own writing and diaries.

        •  Misuse of HR ? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I note my comment was HR'ed by the author.

          Somehow that is a little offish as I am not trolling and clearly stated the problem, multiple copyright violations, and solutions...

          Not agreeing with what I say is fine but it is not cause for a donut.

          •  and you are right. . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Don Enrique

            let's get this matter out there and you only did and said what you thought was the right thing to do, cookseytalbott. I never argue with anyone who thinks they are doing the right thing. No fooling. It's just that I am not sure I am totally at fault here, though you do lead me to be more circumspect and less naive in the future when posting photos, my own or others, even friends. So, no worries. I stand up for people who stand up for their principles. It is something of my nature, as well. You do not deserve donuts, and even this is something in this site I do not comprehend. I mean, I really should do my homework on how this site works, even though I do have mentors from time to time who tell me this or that is the right way to go. I only post diaries. And I implore you not to think too harshly about me or others who might come to my defense, if that's the case. Just a huge learning lesson and curve. You're okay. I just have to figure out how to untangle this mess I've gotten myself into. I am thinking of no longer posting anything from now on. I have publishing commitments, beside, should I even bother going such a route. Talk about politics!

            Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

            by richholtzin on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:52:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank You :) (0+ / 0-)

              I will send you my direct address via message and I will do what I can to help you get some really great pics that are legit.

              Please don't stop writing these types of diaries, they really are great!  That is why you have gotten so many positive comments!

              You can find me via google by name, Ralph Cooksey-Talbott, I welcome you to enjoy some of my observations of the wilderness :)

        •  thanks for your comments, akmk... (0+ / 0-)

          from this lesson I have learned to be a bit more scrutinizing given such permissions, and making sure I am not liberating non-PD material, which I have thought to be using all along, including my own photos and those of friends and such. I beg your indulgence, in the matter.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:54:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just do credits in the future please and all will (0+ / 0-)

            be well.  Outstanding photography deserves to be credited.

            Surely you wouldn't want folks copying your writing without giving credit to you?  It's a lot of work and you do a good job of research and writing and that is worth something.

            Same with photography.

  •  Small correction (0+ / 0-)

    The electrolyte imbalance from drinking too much water and not enough salt results in hyponatremia not hypothermia.

    Great presentation, just incredibly beautiful. I want to be there right now.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:11:39 AM PST

    •  ah yes, going without the eagle eyes. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of an editor. So, yes, hyponatremia and not, of course, hypothermia. My mistakes with a spell check insertion. I have had a nasty encounter or two in my time with both, and, of course, both are extremely different and are fatal. But people who constantly flush but do not add the importance sweet and sour hard stuff, especially in hot, and arid canyon-desert country...they are inviting the angels. As it were. But thanks, Unrepentant Liberal for pointing out the misplaced terms. That's also another plus thing about this site: there are good folks like you out there helping out in the editing department, and may you always be there for such. Most kind of you to point out this mistake. As for the setting itself, go there while you can. Life is short and sometimes the urgings we get to do something are there for a reason. . .like carpe diem, you know?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:52:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry I didn't catch up with this post (0+ / 0-)

        until Tuesday night, but it's another winner.  Thanks, Rich.

        •  well, now you are. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          caught up, Riverofthe West. . .and I just responded to other comments that you made on other diaries posted (of mine). I try and check back with former diaries and the commentaries posted, just in case someone thinks I am ignoring doing same. I try not to, and I very much appreciate the support you and others give to me, and that means, the encouragement on my behalf to continue posting diaries. Love having you and the others along for the ride, in this case, the Powell adventure that is currently a 9-part series underway.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:23:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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