Saturday, December 29, 2007
We're back ... earlier than expected, but still having had an amazing time. To get away from the city and all the crazy Christmas rush, hurry, and hype we went camping in Death Valley. We had planned to stay until New Years Day which would have been truly amazing, but alas, an early return was upon us. Death Valley National Park is spectacular and so large - the things to see are endless. The places we camped are accessed via some serious 4-wheel drive roads (one of them was a series of 4 dry waterfalls) and the reward from the grueling crawl-drive was total beauty.
Death Valley is littered with abandoned structures. The entire region has a rich history of mining and prospecting, as well as a lot of boom and bust. Ghost towns, abandoned mine shafts, empty swimming pools fed by hot springs, little mining encampments ... all of the left-overs were a feast! I spent more time taking pictures of the decaying buildings and foundations instead of the really amazing rock formations.
The first night we were lucky enough to sleep in the Geologist's Cabin (above) at Striped Butte. This extremely well maintained and popular cabin was a highlight. Its remoteness reminded me instantly of the Papa Stour holiday cottage in Scotland (with which I am mildly obsessed) and upon stepping inside the first thing I did was take pictures of all four interior walls.
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Another night we camped out a place called Tarantula Mine which, despite the scary name, was another highlight. Apparently who ever owned the land continued to mine there until the 70's so the structures are a real mix of old and new - a newer, but totally decaying trailer (details above) and a couple of rusted out trucks from the 40's and wood shacks. The 'photo shoot' has finally forced me to actually learn how to use my dormant flickr account. See more here.
Wonderful way to spend Christmas and fantastic weather, albeit freezing at night, but good for star gazing. We'll definitely be heading back soon ... being out there makes me want to build a little house in the middle of nowhere that I can call my own.