Naturally, we love Death Valley. We love its wonderful beauty with spectacular sunsets, colorful and exotic rocks & canyons, those amazing dunes, the unthinkable adaptability of desert basin wildlife, and that mysterious and vibrating silence.
In Death Valley you can see the earth's original naked and bare surface, in its pure and elementary shapes. It is a place from where life has moved.
Death Valley was named by gold seekers who tried to cross this desolate region in 1849 on their way to the California gold fields. They realized soon that they have to battle severely if they want something. Many of them had a long and agonizing death from dehydration in the desert.
Death Valley is a land of extremes. It is the hottest, driest, lowest. Temperatures in the Valley can range from up to 130°F (54 °C) in the day in the summer, to below freezing at night in the winter. This is among the widest temperature spreads in North America. But why is that?
‘The temperature of a certain area depends upon a set of conditions that are called climate controls. These controls include latitude, altitude, topography, distance from large bodies of water, and nearby ocean currents. All these factors added up together created the circumstance to reach such a high temperature' (from The Physics Factbook).
In terms of altitude, the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere is in Death Valley. Generally, the lower the elevation, the higher the temperature. Badwater, in the south central part of Death Valley, is 282 ft (86 m) below sea level, the lowest point in the Americas. In terms of topography, Death Valley is a harsh desert with an average of 5 cm of rain a year. There are no nearby bodies of water, thus, no ocean currents.
And how did this valley evolve? During the Pleistocene era, the floor of Death Valley was once a lake. Lake Manly stretched for a hundred miles, and was as deep as 600 ft.
Today it is a tourist attraction: two museums, 10 campgrounds, two resort hotels, a motel, and a trailer park indicates ‘vivid' life here. Death Valley National Park include the Funeral Mountains, Coffin Peak, Hell's Gate, Starvation Canyon and Dead Man Pass – this is clearly a place with a bad history, reflecting the troubles and misfortunes endured by the pioneers who first traversed, inhabited and mined the region during the end of the last century.