Death Valley looks a neat place - it is totally on my bucket list of places to visit in the US. It's made up of over 3.3 million acres in California & Nevada and was designated a national park in 1994. It is well below sea level, surrounded by magnificent mountains and sand dunes and is the official hottest area of North America. Hmmm. **note on Bucket List - visit in January!** There are a lot of old mining ghost towns and the Legend of Scotty's Castle.
Death Valley got it's wonderfully cheerful name during the Gold Rush in 1849. Pioneers needed to leave Salt Lake City before a certain time in order to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains before snowfall. - They remembered what happened to the Donner family in 1846! However, this group of 49ers were leaving SLC too late in the year to safely cross the mountains, but they heard of a southern route that they could still take. but no wagon train had ever actually traveled that way! Anyway, thru crazy hardships and groups splitting off and going different ways, most everyone finally got across. Only one person actually died on the trip, an elderly man who was already weak from the early part of the journey. As the wagon trains left the valley, someone bid farewell to "Death Valley", giving it its name.
I really want to see Death Valley Rocks. There is a lot of speculation on to what exactly causes these rocks to move across the desert by themselves. Some say aliens, some say strong winds, some say perfect conditions causing an "ice collar" which helps the wind to move them, still others say the rocks move the same way glaciers do. Either way - look how freakin' cool that is!!