DV Memory Report

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Posted by Cliff on March 24, 2003 at 19:03:38:

Inspired by the recent posting of Bodie the Dog...

For the first time in six years, I will not be making the 950-mile journey from Oregon to Death Valley. I wish I were there right now, basking in the heat of the sun, seeing endless square miles without a sole, smelling the pungent aroma of the creasote, and hearing so much silence it is deafening.

I miss the short and long hikes, when you see a new rock or plant every few steps. Seeing a lizard scurry across the desert pavement at breakneck speed.

How many times have I seen a plant, that, at first sight, seems dead. But a closer inspection reveals new growth!

It's amazing to walk for miles and see no footsteps or any sign of humanity.

I miss bouncing along in my SUV, heading up a canyon, sometimes with a beer in my hand (like Bodie), and wondering what's inside each side canyon. At times, I stop and walk up one of those canyons for a while, and each time see something new. Sometimes I see amazing things. I think about the prospectors that may have walked in the same path 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 years ago.

I even miss the well-fed Coyotes and noisy Ravens that follow you out into nowhere, waiting for you to dispose of some food. Or, maybe waiting for you to make a deadly mistake...

I remember the skeleton of a Big Horn sheep up in Willow Creek canyon. It was at the bottom of a waterfall. Did it fall from above and die? Or was it killed and dragged there?

Most of all I miss The Racetrack. For those of you who have been there, I need say no more.

If I'm lucky, I'll be able to visit DVNP in the fall. That would be a first, since all my previous five trips have been in March. But while each trip will be special in its own regard, no trip will ever replace the first one. Never.

If a doctor told me I had one month to live, I'd spend the next three weeks in Death Valley, before returning home to loved ones.

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