Sunday, March 6, 2016


The last weekend in February we made a crazy dash to Death Valley National Park.

And the first place in the park we stopped at, other than our hotel (which we got to after 3:00 am, thanks Spirit Air and Budget Car Rental - NOT!), was where tourists go first. Badwater Basin.

As the sign says, we are 282 feet below sea level.

See that little white spot Patty's pointing to?

Yep, that's 282 feet up the side of the mountain. Badwater Basin is the lowest place in North America.

There is water at Badwater. But, as the name suggests, it's not good. That white stuff isn't, as the season might lead one to assume, snow.

It's this stuff.


Lots of salt.

Lots and lots of salt.

Miles of salt flats. Much to the distress of early visitors, both Native American and later pioneers alike.

See those shiny dots at the base of the mountain? That's the cars in the parking lot. Yep, very salty.


Much of the American west is desert. Beautiful country, albeit perhaps an acquired taste. And many a traveler through these lands, even today, has met their death due to lack of water.

The problem is getting worse as populations grow and the planet heats up. Even with the recent El Nino, much of California is still in a drought. The issue of water rights in the west, between states, between city dwellers and farmers, and even between countries (rivers know no boundaries, although they often are them) will dominate the political scene for years to come. Yet instead of leaders we have politicians. I have very little hope for the immediate future. Things are going to get quite a bit worse before they get better.

This greatly saddens me.

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