beneath today’s five-star, mid-January blue skies. I had to stop for a pic and think about the small joyous things we do just because – like this litter of bird houses along the bike trail, and how, somewhere nearby there’s probably a kid and their mom or maybe a friend painting a bird house to add to this tree.
There are places like this in Death Valley, and maybe you’ve been to them: Crank Junction, Marble Bath. Really gives one pause, especially Marble Bath. To get to it you likely drive your 4×4 loaded with water and provisions (There’s nothing within 100 miles.) way too fast on packed-sand roads, then slow and pull off at a little-known gap in the sage and rocks and crawl your vehicle as far as you deem safe. There, you get out and hike in the heat up through a narrow wash, traverse around some huge solitary rocks and make one final, short steep push to your destination. It’s a cast iron bathtub buried to its rim and filled with what have to be 10,000 blue marbles. Wendel Moyer, desert explorer, research chemist and mountaineer enlisted the help of a few strong friends and placed it there in the early nineties. Why? For the joy of it, and just because.