LensCulture’s Black & White Photography Award 2019

I don’t participate in many competitive photography awards, but I decided to participate in LensCulture’s Black & White Photography Award 2019, with one of my photos from Death Valley. If you feel inclined, Sharing my entry on facebook as a sign of your support is highly appreciated!

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Thank you so much ❤

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – A visit to Death Valley National Park

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life?

If we were having coffee today I would tell you that we’re having mid 80’s this weekend, which is very  comfortable for the Mojave Desert. Fall is the perfect time to get outdoors here! That said, unfortunately I’m surrounded by heavy trafficked roads and that is affecting my lungs a lot, they are constantly irritated. It varies from only annoying, to difficult to breath, and I often wake up many times every night because of this. If I open the windows it even smells like exhaust in the house, there’s no fresh air ever entering. I need to get far away from the city to be able to enjoy the cooler temps, which usually happens in the weekends. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, I am very grateful that I am able to get out of the city most weekends, very grateful. I can’t help but think a lot about how the time in the city will affect my health long-term, both my sanity (of not being able to get outdoors every day like I’ve had all my life,) and my physical health. At the moment my daughter is in excellent health, but I do worry for her as well. Well, I got that of my mind, I’m going to find a way to do something about it…. for now, the weekends are awesome!

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Last weekend we visited Death Valley National Park. I thought I’d share a story with you while we enjoy our coffee today. This is one of the legends about how Death Valley was born. It was told to me by an old man, and this is how I remember the story. 

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was an evil queen in a land far, far away. She was more beautiful than any other queen you have ever seen. She was as beautiful, as she was evil. Her land was vast, seemingly without end. There was rivers, mountains, meadows, lakes, and forests. You could grown anything you wanted. Her kingdom was prosperous. Her loyal subjects used to be farmers, but one day the queen decided that they should stop growing food, and build her many houses instead. They were forced to work inhumanely hard on building projects that their queen came up with. They worked day, and night, with little sleep, and poor food. Workers started to die of exhaustion, and malnutrition. Even the queens own daughter, the princess, fell ill after working too hard on her mother’s latest project, a huge mansion for the queen. The princess died, cursing the queen for her cruelty against her, and her loyal subjects. After the princess’s death, the rest of the people fled the country. The queens house was only half finished. Her land started to die. It became a vast desert, without water, excruciatingly hot. After a few years of suffering in this hostile environment, the queen died, all alone, in her half finished house. – Death Valley Legend

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Death Valley National Park is one of The Mojave Desert’s many faces. Death Valley is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in the US. A below-sea-level basin, with steady drought, and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes.

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There was a sign outside the visitor center at Furnace Creek telling you that walks are not recommended after 10AM (this was the last weekend of September 2019.) Speaking of the visitor center, it’s situated 190ft below sea level! It is a strange feeling to be below sea level. I felt a pressure in my head, not like the pressure you feel at higher elevation but slightly different. It didn’t hurt, it was just a little weird. 

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190 ft below sea level

Death Valley National Park is on many peoples bucket list, and I’d say it earned its place there. The geology is fascinating. This time we got a couple books from the visitor center on the subject, that we are studying. My daughter and I are both very interested in rocks. She loves going there just looking at rocks, and spinning stories about them. I have her write down her stories when we get back home.

IMG_3965IMG_3997How are you on your coffee? Need a refill?IMG_4001Walk up to Zabriskie Point.

Death Valley is so diverse, but if I was was forced to choose, I’d say that Zabriskie Point fascinates me the most.IMG_4004IMG_4010IMG_4015This erosional landscape with its amazing views is situated right off the main road that goes through the park. Some of the other photos in this post requires a 4×4 vehicle and/or hiking to get to, but this breathtaking place is easy accessible to all visitors of the park. IMG_4014I hope you enjoyed the trip to Death Valley National Park. Have you been there? Or is it on your bucket list? Winter is the perfect time to visit. I am planning on going camping there many times this winter. There is a campground next to the visitor center, but dispersed camping is allowed in many places as well.IMG_3939My dog Gretchen and I, hiking down a canyon in Death Valley. Photo by my daughter.

Thanks for having coffee with me today! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? We are talking about a road trip to Utah, I’ll have to get back to you about that later. Have a fabulous weekend!!

 

Love,

Maria

 

 

The gold-era ghost town of Rhyolite, part 3

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I’ve shared a couple posts from our visit to the gold-era ghost town of Rhyolite (NV,) The Last Supper, and Tom T. Kelly’s bottle house. This is the last post, with some final photos from our visit. 

Rhyolite is located 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas. It was a mining town through and through. The Nevada gold rush of 1904-1907 was centered in three towns; Goldfield, Tonopah, and Rhyolite. All located along highway 95 (that still goes by the nickname “the loneliest highway in the world”.) Rhyolite’s short-lived prosperity ended permanently when its mines played out in 1909.

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At the most Rhyolite had a population of 10 000. In 1907 they had electricity, when electricity still was a very rare commodity. The mining in Rhyolite was sponsored by prospectors from the East Coast. The whole town was dependent on their contributions. They had a bank, a casino, two schools, 50 (!) bars, a train station, and a general store among many other facilities, and homes. In 1907, shortly after getting electricity to town, the financial panic reach these parts of the world as well, and businesses started to shut down. In 1916 the light and power company shut down the power, and people started to leave town. 

Rumor says someone lived in this train car. 

Rhyolite is one of the most well preserved ghost towns in Nevada, and worth a visit. The history, location (just outside Death Valley,) along with how well preserved it is makes this a great day trip, if you are visiting Las Vegas, or a fabulous stop on the way to Death Valley. The winters here are mild, the summers can be hot. It is possible to visit all year round. There is a free museum open to the public, it’s located right next to the art installation of The Last Supper, by Albert Szukalski, on the left side as you enter Rhyolite. 

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Beautiful mosaic bench, next to the museum, on the left side as you enter town.

I really enjoyed our visit to Rhyolite. Thanks for coming with me! If you enjoyed these ghost town posts, feel free to share them!

Love,

Maria

 

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