I learned of Death Valley through blogger Ben, who’d driven through the desolate, winding roads of this desert landscape. If I knew nothing about Death Valley before, I did now. So, when we finally made our way through the Southwest, I had a rest stop in mind. We’d just left the empty lights of Las Vegas for California, where we’d have our next two events. We drove for hours on a lonely interstate until a left turn revealed to us an expanse of mountainous beauty.
When we finally entered the park, we had no idea where to go or what to see. There was a kiosk and some nature-friendly toilets. We were confused and in the middle of what seemed like nowhere until an older couple suggested we continue on to the visitor center. Before we even made it that far, however, a collection of cars at the base of a hill caught our attention. This was Zabriskie Point, where years of erosion and seismic activity molded these lands of silt and clay into the soft, rolling hills before us. It was strange, compact, soft yet very solid – like slightly hardened Play-Doh. It were as if someone added water to the ground, joining its separate contents together to create a solid, smooth mass. It was amazing, to say the least.
We continued up the hill to a view of an extension of what we’d seen. We were in awe at the beautiful rock formations rolling up and down for an infinite distance. The visitor center was no longer necessary, we thought. It was miles away in the opposite direction, and as always, we were only passing through. If this were all I’d seen of Death Valley, I’d be partially satisfied (only because I knew there was more to this place). It wasn’t all, though. We would make just one more stop before leaving.