Sunday, May 07, 2006


The top twelve photos of the Yosemite and Death Valley trip are up on the web site ( I hope you like ‘em. Whether you like them or not, you’ll have to admit it’s the way to view vacation photos, and I don’t mean looking them up on the web. I mean looking at the top twelve. People should show you only the top twelve. They should not dump all 500 in your lap.


Vegas is a cheap ticket. Vegas will always be a cheap ticket. Two of us can fly to Vegas for less than one of us can fly to Jackson Hole, or Calgary, or Halifax. And Vegas is not far from some great places. Like Death Valley, and Zion, and Bryce. Time spent in those places is time well spent.

And Las Vegas offers a staggering contrast to the truth and beauty of Death Valley, and Zion, and Bryce. The people who would spurn those places for Vegas can’t hear anything I have to say. We have erected in the desert the vice capital of the world. And, I’m glad, because it’s a cheap ticket to the virtues of Death Valley, and Zion, and Bryce (And Canyonlands, Capital Reef, and Arches aren’t too much farther up the road). But, the experience of Vegas is a shock to sensitive systems. And, it is a testimony to the vast differences that exist among people. We do not all think the same thing is fun. Or good. Amazing. And wonderful, in its own weird way.

Where was I? Oh, yes, I was about getting you to Vegas to get you to Death Valley (and back to the other places) in a month other than May through September. Go to the desert in April, or March, or February. I understand that the flowers are every where in late February. And there is water in Badwater, which would allow you to take a photograph of Telegraph Peak and its reflection at sun rise, which you can’t do in late April because the water has evaporated by then and you only have a vast salt flat, and salt flats don’t, as you know, reflect much of anything at any time.

Death Valley ranges from 280, or so, feet below sea level to over a mile above sea level, which in itself presents a range of contrasts. And, there are abandoned mines, and ghost towns, and sand dunes, and canyons, and vistas, and things you have never seen in your back yard or down the street, and you just need to go. You just need to take yourself to the desert in April, or March, or February. Vegas is a cheap ticket. Rental cars aren’t much. You have no excuse. Go.

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