As we drop down the eastern slopes of the High Sierras into the "Great Basin", the landscape we traverse on our journey eastwards transforms dramatically. We are now in the famed province known as the "Basin and Range", a vast area of the Western US that is unique in appearance and clearly visible even from space as a discrete terrain. Row after row of parallel, linear mountain ranges and intervening valleys, each running roughly north-south for scores of miles, fill the bulk of the State of Nevada and a good part of the western flank of the State of Utah. For us the most dramatic part of all the Basin and Range is the area within the Death Valley National Park, a vast stretch of protected wilderness that in the summer is simply infernal, but in the winter months has to be one of the most pleasant, beautiful, exciting - and enormously interesting places we know of.
David Nicklin: "I will never forget the first time I saw Death Valley. I drove in over one of the dirt roads coming across the northern part of the Panamint Range. Suddenly, before me lay this vast, sweeping expanse of entirely pristine, totally unfenced land, the likes of which I could not ever remember having seen before. I had to pull over and gape. I was entirely overcome by the majesty of it. I was literally moved to tears."
Nice to know we can still shock even ourselves!
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