To celebrate six months of recovery from knee surgery, Nick and I went on a six-day bike tour through Death Valley National Park in March. While some people write the park off as “nothing but nasty rock and salt,” we thought it was amazing. A furnace-like, sub-sea-level basin is surrounded by towering peaks frosted with winter snow. Mud crusted roads are lined with delicate wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. It is a land of extremes.
On our fourth day in the park, I left the tour group in the wee pre-dawn hours and rode to Zabriskie Point to photograph sunrise. That solo-ride in and of itself was worth it – pedaling along in silence under blue moonlight. At Zabriskie Point, I waited patiently for almost an hour. The cold desert breeze blew through my thin cycling clothes. Goosebumps grew on my goosebumps. Then, slowly, the sun’s rays illuminated the Panamint Range on the far side of the valley, and night let the park slip through her cool fingers into the waiting arms of another 90-degree day.