Denise Goldberg's blog

A return to death
To the lowest place in North America

Friday, January 16, 2009


This journal captures thoughts and images from a too-short trip to Death Valley National Park in November, 2008. It also contains photos from a very quick glimpse of Red Rock Canyon National National Conservation area. I know that I will be heading back to both places in the not too distant future.
In fact, I'll be headed out to Red Rock Canyon for a few days of hiking in early February of 2009. One too-quick visit left me wanted to absorb more of that beauty.
Death Valley National Park

Where next?
Jump forward to Counting the days.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Memories in patterned words

A little word play... I was pointed to Wordle by an entry in a friend's blog today. In the words of the Wordle creator:
Wordle is a toy for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of cloud was created from the Death Valley journal that Rover wrote for me, so I plunked my journal into Wordle to see what would come out. Yes, that silly red dog Rover did use my name quite a few times as he wrote this journal, didn't he? See, it really is fun to play with words!

Image created by

Where next?

Go back to Captured by... camera-happy Denise!.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Captured by... camera-happy Denise!

Denise asked me to let you know that while this journal contains a sampling of her photos, there are many more in her photo galleries.

You can send your eyes to the full set of galleries to see some of the images that jumped into her camera during our wanderings. And while you're there...
You can view the photos splashed across your whole screen if you'd like - just click the slideshow button in the upper right of the photo gallery window. (If you're in the gallery slideshow, you can get control of your computer back again by moving the mouse and clicking "return to gallery" or by just clicking the Esc key.)
To enter the top level of Denise's galleries for this trip, click A return to death. Once you're there, you will be able to choose from six photo galleries. Or you can jump right into a specific gallery:

Where next?

Go back to Brrr! A contrast in temperatures, or jump forward to Memories in patterned words.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brrr! A contrast in temperatures

Home again, and I think it's finally winter here. Denise thought about leaving some warm layers in the car in case it was cold, but nope. She somehow left home without doing that. It was cold, cold, cold - 19 degrees worth of cold - when we jumped off of that big bird last night. That's quite a contrast from the warmth that we left behind us.

The big bird that we flew on was late leaving Las Vegas. We were waiting for people from flights from fogged in areas in California that were carrying people connecting to our flight, since this was the last flight of the day leaving Las Vegas for Manchester. There are later flights on other days of the week, just not on Saturdays. In spite of leaving two hours later than scheduled, we were only an hour late getting in to Manchester. And Denise thinks that was a trade for us getting into Las Vegas an hour earlier than scheduled. Maybe it was...

Oh! It's time for some sleep. And tomorrow? I think we'll be looking at pictures. Keep an eye out; I know that Denise will be posting some of them here.

Where next?

Go back to Photos: Red Rock Canyon, or jump forward to Captured by... camera-happy Denise!.

Photos: Red Rock Canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

red rock canyon

Where next?

Go back to Information from a sign, or jump forward to Brrr! A contrast in temperatures.

Information from a sign

I think you might be interested in some information we read on a sign in the park. It's about the formation of this beautiful area. Denise & I are always fascinated by this type of information, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to copy the words on one of the signs as the first stopping point within the park.
Red Rock 180 million years ago
If you could travel back in time, about 180 million years, you would find yourself standing in a vast field of towering red sand dunes that stretched across much of the Southwest. This immense dune field was one of the largest that has ever existed on earth. The region was very arid and looked similar to the dune fields of the modern-day Sahara Desert in Africa.

Over time, underground water moving through the dunes carried away much of the red colr and left behine calcium carbonate. This process cemented the sand into rock.

This rock forms the color sandstone cliffs and hills of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.


Look across to the giant sandstone hills before you and notice the sweeping curves in the stone. These layers, known as cross beds, were developed while the sand dunes were still active.

As the wind blew, the dunes migrated, and their sand formed inclined layers. The tops of old dunes were reformed and new ones were built, leaving a record of cross-cutting curves in distinct multiple layers.


Sand grains are transported by winds up the windward slope of a dune, and they slide down the steeper leeward side, depositing sand in distinct layers or beds. This transportation and deposition results in a slow forward migration (movement) of the sand dunes.


  1. In a vast field of sand dunes, the migration of a dune partially erodes the dune in front of it. As this occurs, sand is deposited in curving layers and the dune "climbs the back" of the dune in front of it.

  2. This new series of curving layers is oriented at angles to those in the remnants of the dune below it and are known as cross beds. The continued forward climbing movement of dune after dune resulted in the stacking of layer upon layer of cross-bedded sands.

  3. Underground water moving through these deep piles of sand left behind calcium carbonate that cemented the sand grains together and turned the sand to stone.

Information courtesy of
U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Where next?

Go back to Fleeting glimpses of Red Rock Canyon, or jump forward to Photos: Red Rock Canyon.

Fleeting glimpses... of Red Rock Canyon

It was another early morning today - not because we were going somewhere to watch the sun leap into the sky, but because we only had a short amount of time to play before heading to the airport.

Up, moving... breakfast at 6, getting all of our travel pieces together, and we were off by 7. Funny, the directions to Red Rock Canyon said it would take 45 minutes to get there. I think it took about 20, but I suppose the longer time might be needed during the week. The roads were quiet today and we were at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area quickly, ready to roam.
If you're following us to this park, it does have a very reasonable entrance fee of $5. If you happen to have a National Parks Pass, don't forget to bring it with you - because entry to National Conservation areas like Red Rock Canyon is included with that pass. Denise always brings her parks pass with her - she needed it this trip since we were wandering in Death Valley - so we were all set.
And uh oh! Denise really liked it there. I have a funny feeling that we will be coming back here in the not too distant future (as in when Denise feels like she needs to escape for a couple of days) to spend a few days hiking at Red Rock Canyon. A couple of hours of wandering just wasn't enough.

There is a 13-mile Scenic Drive that allowed us to get a sense of the beauty in this park just west of Las Vegas. With all the glitter of the strip, it's easy to remember that natural beauty is very reachable here. We drove, and we stopped. We walked a bit, and Denise played with her camera. The Scenic Drive circles a big open area, but around the outside edges are mountains and stone formations, and lots of trails for bouncing. It's a one-way road, one that is wider than a lane, but it's driven as a one-lane road. There were lots of cyclists looping the hilly road, and there were runners out too. And we saw some folks heading out with climbing gear. It would be fun to follow them to their chosen cliffs and watch for a bit. I might try climbing, but I know that Denise won't. She doesn't like when she looks down and realizes that there is nothing under her feet.

What did we see? We saw mountains and cliffs off in the distance, and we stood right next to rounded rock hills flaunting bright colors, reds and oranges and yellows (once again!) with some bright white too. The sky above those colored rocks was a brilliant blue. It's funny, the sky over those distant mountains was hazy, but I bet if I stood right at the foot of those contours and looked up, I think I would see bright blue there too. I'll have to check that out the next time we are here. And yes - I can read Denise's mind. There will be a next time!

Where next?

Go back to Photos: 20 Mule Team Canyon again, or jump forward to Information from a sign.

Friday, November 21, 2008