Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, April 4, 2014

"D" is for Death Valley National Park

"Flying Over Death Valley" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Death Valley National Park is a place we've flown over many times, but we have never actually visited the park (at least not in recent years). Both the hottest and driest park, it's also the largest National Park in the lower 48 states. 

The haunting name, Death Valley, came in 1849 when prospectors heading to California lost their way and got stuck there. It took weeks for them to find their way out of the valley. To survive, they were forced to slaughter some of their own oxen for food and to burn some of their wagons for fuel to cook it. 

Over the years, I've created several paintings of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that are among the ranges that border it. I never tire taking photos of these mountains as we fly across them.

Groups of Native Americans lived there as long ago as 7,000 BC. At that time, the terrain was less harsh and featured a few small lakes.

When tourism grew in Death Valley in the 1920s, resorts were built in the area. Eventually, the park expanded to the size it is today and it became a National Park in 1994.


Ryshia Kennie said...

Thanks for the chance to travel on a cold spring morning. Only thing better than a virtual trip - real, and Death Valley sounds like an intriguing and dangerous place to visit.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been there!
Wow, it hasn't been a national park for very long.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for visiting, Ryshia. A desert can be more dangerous than many of the other National Parks.

Alex, I was surprised that Death Valley is quite young as far as National Parks go.

Sharon Himsl said...

Hi Mary. I visited Death Valley as a child but would like to see it again. Did not know it is the largest national park.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I'd like to visit it some day. I wonder how hard a ride it is on a motorcycle?
Play off the Page

Cecilia said...

it is often spoken of as a place to go. Maybe I will be fortunate enough to see it one day. Thank you for your story.

Corinne Rodrigues said...

I've read about the Death Valley in some old Westerns, but didn't know it's a National Park now.

Corinne Rodrigues
Arlee's Ambassador:AtoZ Challenge
Everyday Gyaan
From 7Eight

PS: I live in India.

Beth Camp said...

If you plan to drive through Death Valley, even in the summer, plan to leave at the very crack of dawn. Take lots of water for you and the car. Make sure your cell phones are charged! Death Valley is not an easy ride. We left with a sense of relief, for this desert is harsh.