This is the continuation of my travels in early 2016.
It was time to leave The Owens Valley, and start heading east again. I decided to travel through Death Valley but spent a night at The Trona Pinnacles on my way there. The Trona Pinnacles are an unusual geological feature in the California Desert National Conservation Area. The unusual landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, rising from the bed of the Searles Lake basin.
Before I left civilization, I checked my emails, and learned that a friend I made while in Yellowstone National Park a few years back, was going to be in Death Valley at the same time, so we arranged to meet up.
I spent a few more nights in Death Valley, in my usual camp spot that now felt like home. The super bloom was dwindling, but the cacti were now in bloom. The above images were taken by my camp spot.
One night I met Dan at the parking lot by Zabriski Point to photograph the sunset and possibly look at the stars. The two of us were hanging around by our vehicles chatting, with no-one else around, when a young couple drove up and asked if this would be a good spot to see the Milky Way from. They had driven from one of the big cities specifically to see The Milky Way.
This wasn’t the first time on this trip that I’d met young people who had never seen the Milky Way, and it kind of blew my mind. Being a person who avoids cities like the plague, I never gave it that much thought. I’d read about these people who’d grown up not seeing the night skies, but I’d never met so many in person before.
Dan got out his phone with its night-skies app, and showed them exactly where the milky way would come up, and told them it would probably be best at around 4:00 am. We suggested they go to bed and set an alarm clock so they didn’t miss it.
But it was so much fun talking to these two young students, who not only had never seen the milky way, but had never used a paper map, and didn’t know what a road atlas was or where to buy one. Dan is a professor and had a lot to talk about with this young couple, so we chatted and drank tea (which I made on Mitzi’s bumper) until quite late.
These are the kind of moments that happen when living on the road. One often finds oneself in odd but wonderful situations, the kind that throws strangers together. I’ve made many lasting friendships with people I’ve met on the road, because we meet in an environment that is agreeable to both of us, and so we already have something in common.
The young couple have remained Facebook friends…if you read this, you know who you are, and I wish you a bright and adventurous future.
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I actually felt a little sad leaving Death Valley, but it was getting hot there and it was time to move on. Next stop Pahrump, NV, where I’d learned that some of my new Nomad friends were gathered for a while.
Until next time…remember to look at the night skies, and seek out the Milky Way.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature