hitting the East Coast during the waning days of August 2011. I’m so glad I took the time to direct my attention to this part of the country – further ignoring it would have been criminal to the Mind and the Spirit.
Locked between two constantly rising mountain ranges – the Panamint and the Amargosa – Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the country
. The cataclysmic forces that thrust rock layers upward and the opposing erosional forces that battle to tear down the mightiest of terrains have created this extreme landscape that hosts a series of active earthquake fault lines in the Province’s alternating pattern of mountains and valleys. As testament to the violent geological forces, it is not a coincidence that the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney (14,491 ft.) is just 100 miles west from the lowest point, the Badwater Basin (-283 ft.). In its unique location, the valley gets less than 2 inches of precipitation per year, yet moisture evaporates at the rate of 150 inches per year!
During my visit, the outside temperature was 117°F – I couldn’t resist the seemingly smooth salt crystal trail of the Badwater Basin so I took off running with the intention of stopping after a mile. At 0.91 mile I came to a complete stop – furiously panting for air. I felt myself heating up faster than the time I ran in the Koi’ Desert on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Lee thought I was crazy so he fired a series of photo shots with my Canon 7D.
The next time I visit this place, I will have to remind myself to check into the fancy Furnace Creek Inn, a gem in such a dry oasis. From here, I’ll be able to explore the park at night. I’ll also have the option to bypass this place and go directly to the Great Basin National Park to see the nearly undisturbed lights of the Milky Way Galaxy.Knight
At 30,000+ ft. over the Grand Canyon on SW Flight 118 – August, 2011
After having received an Outstanding Performance Award and a promotion in Kansas City, MO during my work's national conference, I decided to do an extended stay and celebrate my accomplishments. I’ve driven cross-country 19 times and have always passed through the Basin and Range Province without care or consideration to stop, see, and explore. So on this partial cross-country drive with Lee from Kansas City, Missouri to Ridgecrest, California, I directed his new X3 SUV to scrape the southern provincial boundary. The decision to postpone my mountain climb up the Central Rockies came when I reflected on the news coverage of the 5.3-magnitude Earthquake and Hurricane