Tree in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is the hottest, lowest and driest national park in the United States.  It straddles California and Nevada and is comprised of the Mohave and Great Basin Deserts.  Death Valley has a diverse ecosystem with salt flats, dunes, mountains, badlands and canyons.  The average rainfall is 1.5 inches per year and the highest recorded temperature s 134 F!

Despite the harsh conditions, native american tribes have lived in the area for at last the last 10,000 years.  The first group were hunters and gatherers and lived in a time when the climate was cooler, wetter, and the wildlife more abundant.  Later tribes migrated annually between the mountains and valleys based on the season and availability of food.

The California gold rush brought the first Europeans to the area.  Their objective was to become find gold and become wealthy, however they accidentally came into the valley seeking a shortcut to California.  Crossing the valley was much more difficult than they anticipated. In December of 1849, two groups with approximately 100 wagons were unable to find a way out of the valley for two weeks and were forced to eat their oxen to survive. They eventually made it out but were forced to leave their wagons behind.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.