A Death Valley Amble

On April 4, 2011, in Adventure, Nature, Running, by Meghan

Topography rises in kodachrome stripes,
building breezes upon which vultures take flight.
Eastward wind scours the earth to bare delight
while creeping lizards leave tracks of a meandering type.
There exists no doubt that this world is ripe.

By coyotes and their midnight yips,
by the phoebe’s song with its playful flip,
by the border collie lapping her water sips,
by bantering ravens with black beaks they nip,
we’re backfilled by life in this desert dip.

The sun falls behind a desert dune.
The redtail calls her twilight tune.
The blue night sky lifts a saucer moon.
The kangaroo rat will begin his loping soon.
And for arriving night, we make an aching swoon.

A Death Valley amble
is geology scrabble,
with slot canyon scrambles
and twisting badlands gambles.
Making us again wild, human animals.

(Random rhyming thoughts while chillin’ in Death Valley’s Stovepipe Wells Campground on February 5th, around 1pm.)

Three years ago, my running friend Jeff organized a long weekend of winter play in Death Valley National Park for he and his adventure buddies. I was invited and attended that 2009 weekend, and you can find my blog recap of our good fun right here. Last winter, he made some more epic plans, but I couldn’t get the right weekend off from work to join the weekend-o-fun. Stoked was I to receive this year’s invite for four days of fun at the beginning of February! Below is the photo documentary of our Death Valley amble.

Stop 1 was Death Valley's Ubehebe Crater. Pete and the rest of us were promptly inspired to run to its bottom.

I kept the company of all boys on this weekend. From left to right are Ryan, Pete, Jeff, and Bryon at the bottom of the crater. Though they are boys, they made me laugh a lot and, thus, were great companions.

Ryan makes the stiff climb out of Ubehebe Crater.

We take a spin around the rim of Ubehebe and her neighboring craters. If it looks like one of the rings of Dante's Inferno, that's because I think it is.

This is almost the end of the earth. I'm sure of it.

Even Junebug the Border Collie gets her rocks off at Ubehebe Crater.

Death Valley's Mesquite Dunes at sunset make an ample playground for Bryon.

It's a fairytale world on Death Valley's Mesquite Dunes at sunset.

We went to Death Valley's high country and found snow! Snowshoes assisted in the upward voyage.

Ryan does his best John Muir impression.

Crusty, sun-baked snow curves around the Death Valley landscape in sharp, slippery fashion.

Poor packing decisions yield some serious fashion faux pas-ing by yours truly at 10,000 feet in Death Valley.

Jeff hangs out in Death Valley's high country as Telescope Peak looms in the background.

Looking down into the depths of Death Valley from its highest steeps.

Junebug goes on an old dog galavant along a flat dirt road in Death Valley. I wonder if she recalls our visit here in 2009? That was her last long run.

This is The. Best. Old. Dog. In. The. World. Do you dare disagree?

Bryon sticks his tongue out at Death Valley's Badwater. I know what he's thinking, "Which way is Mount Whitney and how fast could I run there?"

Bryon ponders the precipitate minerals of the Badwater Basin.

12 Responses to “A Death Valley Amble”

  1. runsuerun says:

    Not fashion faux pas’ing but fashion trendsetting — I love your outfit! Was the snowy hike on Wildrose Peak perchance?

    • Meghan says:

      Hi Sue! Nice to see you here! Thanks for making me feel better about my outfit! πŸ™‚ Our goal was Telescope Peak, but we turned back before the summit. After several days of big play, our bodies were tired and less goal-oriented on this day.

  2. jeff says:

    is that an original poem, meghan? i dig it!

    thanks for joining us again. it just feels right having you, bryon and june there.

    • Meghan says:

      Jeff, I had such a great time out there. I’m so stoked to have been on the invite list! Yep, poem written while chillin’ at the Stovepipe Wells Campground.

  3. Ewa says:

    I haven’t been to Death Valley in over two years. This is such a fabulous place, one of my favorite on this planet. Your post wants me to pack and go, NOW.
    I think I will have to settle for a local state park though… it is beautiful too and at least I know the government won’t shut it down, at least not this weekend. πŸ™‚
    As usual, great post. Thanks.

    • Meghan says:

      Ewa, put Death Valley on the list. You know, THAT list, the one on the back burner of I-gotta-go-there-soon stuff! Enjoy your state park visit this weekend in the meantime.

      Also, my buddy JeffO just gave you some mad props in the comments section of my last blog post. I hope you see them and also hope they make you smile.

  4. Paige T. says:

    Well I must be a fellow fashion faux pas-er then because I would totally wear that outfit, no joke!

    Great photos, and lovely poem.

    Death Valley has an astonishing amount of life within it, it’s just a different variety than what we’re used to which makes it even cooler. It’s a little mind-blowing to me. I love that place and I’ve only been once. Your photos make me want to go back even more than I already did πŸ™‚

    Yahooooooo for adventures!!

    • Meghan says:

      Paige, alright, all of you ladies are making me feel mo’ betta’. When I went to Death Valley, I knew I’d be going up into the snow and cold, but didn’t really pack for it. When it was time to do the deed, I just kept putting on more and more warm-weather layers until I was warm enough.

      Death Valley is far from deathly, you’re absolutely right! Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. JeffO says:

    I love Death Valley – uh, in winter. Ubehebe is so cool! I have to take my some there for at least a week. (Preferably when gas is $1/gal.)

    • Meghan says:

      Your son would probably love Death Valley, no? If you’ll wait until gas costs a buck, you’ll never get him there, though. πŸ˜‰ Hope you’re well, JeffO.

  6. […] we did what I think you’re supposed to do after you write a book, we hopped in the car and went to Death Valley National […]

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