RELIGION: Tales from the Road: Valley of Death

When we arrived in California to visit our son and his family, Ron asked, “How was the trip?

“It was a tough trip. I walked through Death Valley just to see you.”

“Really, daddy?” So you, a 74 year old Californian, finally visited Death Valley National Park. Was it worth it?

“For a Californian, definitely, YES. But I think for a US citizen the answer is always yes.”

After Carol and I walked through Bryce and Zion National Parks on May 10-11, our next visit was to Death Valley.

There are three basic routes for visiting the valley: the Quick Route, the Scenic Route, and the Explorer Route. Any of the three is worth the time spent, although I think the scenic drive is the most rewarding.

Located in the northern Mojave Desert, Death Valley is an intriguing part of our country. Here is an interesting anecdote about travel. The highest point in the continental United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) is Mount Whitney. The lowest point in the United States is Bad Water. Are you ready? These two geological points are only 88 miles apart. Mount Whitney reaches 14,494 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and Bad Water sits in Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level.

The valley is also the hottest point in the Western Hemisphere. When we visited on May 12, 2021, the temperature was 110 degrees F. A year earlier, on August 16, the temperature reached 130 F. The highest air temperature ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere was in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. It was 134 degrees F. But there is more. The hottest surface temperature on earth on record was in Death Valley on July 15, 1972. It was 201 degrees F, and some people fried eggs on the ground. I hope they haven’t eaten them.

The valley is called a “graben” which is a block of land between two mountain ranges that has subsided, possibly due to earthquakes. Over 5,000 years ago, the valley contained a lake 100 miles long and about 600 feet deep.

Have you ever heard of climate change? Long before industries developed and before we contaminated the atmosphere, several thousand years before the pilgrims arrived in America, climate change was already well developed and the Lake of Death Valley, as well. that thousands more, have dried up.

The area turned desert and most of the water evaporated, leaving an abundance of crystallized material; the main one was borax. Borax was heavily mined from 1883 to 1907. Have you ever heard of Boraxo, or 20 Mule-Team Borax? He was from Death Valley, and the Pacific Coast Borax Company sponsored radio and television shows called Death Valley Days. The radio show ran from 1930 to 1945 and the TV show from 1952 to 1975. Ronald Reagan was the narrator of the TV show from 1964 to 1965.

Several geological faults intersect in the valley and the Amargosa river flows into it but disappears into the sand. And, if you’re wondering, it snowed once in January 1922.

The valley is home to the Native American Timbisha tribe, formerly known as Panamint Shoshone. They called the area “tumpisa” which means “rock painting” because the red ocher paint is made from the clay that is there.

On February 11, 1933, President Herbert Hoover declared the area a Death Valley National Monument, but in 1994 it was renamed Death Valley National Park. Located in California and Nevada, it is the largest national park of the 48 states and has nearly 1,000 miles of roads. Dress in loose clothing and take plenty of water with you during your visit.

But why is it called Death Valley?

During the California Gold Rush of 1849, approximately 300,000 adventurers went to find their fame and fortune. A group of 13 were just a few who entered the valley but didn’t understand the dry heat of the deep desert and didn’t take in enough water. They were found dead and people called it a valley of death.

Do you know that millions of people around the world today seek through a valley of emotional and spiritual death glory, self-esteem or simple acceptance, while others seek wealth, power and prestige? This urge will never be satisfied outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Fulfillment in this life and joy for eternity is only found in Jesus.

Visit Death Valley but live for Christ. The treasure you are looking for can be discovered by reading the treasure map, the Bible.

– S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor and speaker. Send your comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.