I just spent a couple of wonderful days exploring Death Valley, California. It’s immense and awesome. The scale of it is hard to capture in photos. Best time of year to go is February to May, when the temperature is mild and the wildflowers are blooming at different elevations.
Bring a hat
Stop by China Ranch’s Date Farm
Young Date Palm frond
From a Date Palm
It’s sounds nuts but it’s 178 feet below sea level in Death Valley…
Natural treasures seen in Devil’s Golfcourse
Naturally occurring at the Devil’s Golfcourse
Got up at 5:30 am to photograph the sun coming up at Artist Palette. So worth it!
Treasures seen at Artist Palette
Honey Mesquite beans are part of the history of Death Valley and the Native Americans who lived here for thousands of years. Mesquite grows along the valley floor and along springs. The bean from the Honey Mesquite tree ripen in May, and the Indians would gather them from the thorny branches. A portion of the beans would be stored for future use in excavated pits, lined with grass and then covered with stones to protect from rodents. Now the Indians were ready to move up into the Panamint Mountains to escape summer’s scorching valley temperature.
Mesquite beans are very brittle when dried, so they can be ground into meal. The pods have a high sugar content-25% to 30%- and the meal can be mixed with water to make a cereal, or baked into bread. The seeds can be soaked in water to yield a sweet, lemon-flavored drink. Native Americans have ground Mesquite beans and another nuts and seeds for thousands of years with a mano (pestle) and a metate (mortar).
The word for Mesquite in Shoshone is “o’phi”, and this plant is also a valuable source of wood for fuel in the desert.
Death Valley gorgeously located: Amaragosa Hotel and Opera house. It’s crying for an angel to come and rescue it.
Complete awesome-ness: Zabriskie Point. Stunning. Immense. Jaw dropping.
Meditative hiker @ Zabriskie Point
Rocking in my hiking gear while taking photos of Zabriskie Point with my daughter Lucie.
Back home with my treasures from China Ranch: Date Palm part and Sage
Native Americans in Death Valley
Indians had been living in Death Valley for thousands of years before the first pioneers struggled through in 1849. The Indian name for Death Valley was Tomesha meaning “ground afire.” The Indians had learned that the best way to live in this area was to leave the valley during the summer. As the hot weather arrived, they followed the lines of ripening vegetation upward into the surrounding mountains where they would gather seeds and Pine nuts. In the fall, they would return to the valley where the climate would remain mild during the winter.
The Indians of Death Valley are descendants of the Southern Shoshone tribeseman who wandered westward a thousand years ago from the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.
Note: All the information about Native Americans in Death Valley I learned at the museum located in The Furnace Creek Ranch.