Last month, my guy and I went on a road trip to Death Valley. Our priorities were (as usual) to go on an uncharted adventure, get a little offroading in, and hopefully gather a few stunning photos of our trip. Plus, as a native Californian, I figured it was about time I saw more of my beautiful state.
We started out in the Bay Area, driving east and grazing Tahoe, before going down along the Eastern Sierras. This included a stop at Mono Lake and a search for some hidden hot springs. The further south we went, and particularly once we made it into Death Valley, three things really struck me:
Driving across California in search of Death Valley, one of the harshest environments in this country, I honestly didn’t expect to see any sort of color. And yet– it was everywhere. The mountains, sand, water, and plants contained more coloring and character than I could have ever expected.
One of the most striking moments of our trip was hiking through the “Artist’s Palette,” a colorful set of dunes that oxidized into a million different colors over the years from minerals. It felt like nature’s very own Salvation Mountain. I climbed one of its many peaks, and despite feeling a little terrified (desert heat and and no shoe traction) knew I would never encounter another place like this.
Life tends to go along with color. And again, this was one of those times I was glad to be wrong– all of the rain this year led to a record wildflower bloom, and seeing bright yellow and purple flowers sprinkled across the vast desert charmed me to no end. Not to mention all the desert brush, joshua trees, and climbing succulents. The desert is actually teeming with the kinds of plants and critters that have worked around its extreme conditions, and honestly, this inspired me in a big way. We’re all tougher than we think.
This year, Valentine’s day happened to fall on President’s Day weekend. We decided that going on this adventure was a great way to celebrate our relationship, and I have to say, those hours after the sun fell behind the horizon and all we saw was the road ahead of us were my favorite. Real conversation surrounded by nature has got to be one of the most grounding and empowering things I’ve ever known. Plus, I was surprised with the cutest succulent (pictured below), which I quickly dubbed Badwater, named for the salt plains we’d explored the day before.
There is so much to say about this breathtaking place, but for now, here are a few of my favorite moments:
And there you have it. I so highly recommend seeing this place with your own eyes, but please only make the trek after taking time to prepare. This is a true desert spanning millions of acres, and having water and equipment is key.
Thanks for letting me share. I hope you can take an adventure of your own soon!