A Mind-Boggling Chunk of Lonely: Backpacking in Death Valley National Park
By Michael Lanza
“Can you believe how much water there is?!” Katie asks incredulously. It’s a logical question, and the response of silence from the rest of us answers her pretty succinctly: No, we can’t.
We’re backpacking in a lonely corner of the water-starved and nearly barren Panamint Range in southern California’s Death Valley National Park. One of the most insufferably hot and dry deserts on the planet, Death Valley averages less than two inches of rainfall a year. The temperature on this mid-May evening still hovers around a steaming 90° F in the shade, even as sunset fast approaches.
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