Sunday 11 December 2016

Yosemite Valley to Death Valley: The Last Strange Day

At the finish of the 450 mile walk

Finishing a long walk is always a little disorientating and disconcerting, at least for me. After weeks of walking all day and camping at night suddenly it’s all over. The intensity and immediacy of being in the wilds, of having to deal with route finding, difficult terrain, finding campsites, finding water, have ended. Now it’s roads, vehicles, buildings, towns, cities.

The ending of my Yosemite Valley to Death Valley walk was particularly abrupt, not to say weird. I woke in the desert, walked across Death Valley, and arrived at the finish, Badwater, where there were many people. Two of them approached me to see what this figure walking out of the wilderness was doing and obviously figuring that I wasn't dangerously mad kindly offered me a lift to Furnace Creek, the nearest place with any facilities. Within minutes of completing the walk I was in a car speeding along a road and talking to two strangers. 

From Furnace Creek another longer ride with another kind Canadian couple, Ellen and Walter Stothers, took me to the unreal bright lights and mind-numbing noise of Las Vegas. Arriving there I knew my world had changed and the walk was over. I just wasn’t sure what world I was now in.

The following pairs of photographs, all taken on that final day, sum up the strangeness.
View from my bedroom early morning October 23
View from my bedroom evening October 23

My camp, morning October 23
My hotel, evening October 23

On October 23 I walked across the vast open space of Death Valley during the day
The evening of October 23 I walked long bland and somewhat spooky corridors in a huge hotel


  1. Have you ever watched Stephen King's the Shining? That hotel corridor looks very familiar :-)

  2. The photos remind me of something Stephen Fry once said... To paraphrase "You can't improve on nature. Everything in nature is beautiful, but in landscape the hand of man only spoils and uglifies."