Death Valley: A Visual Interpretation (A Wish You Were Here Bookİ) (Wish You Were Here Series)

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9780939365371: Death Valley: A Visual Interpretation (A Wish You Were Here Bookİ) (Wish You Were Here Series)
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It is probably safe to assume that the first white visitors to Death Valley were not overly impressed by their introduction to this portion of western Nevada and eastern California. Horrified is probably more accurate. This group of emigrants, following what they believed to be a shortcut to the goldfields of California, must surely have stood in awe when they arrived at the mouth of Furnace Creek Wash on Christmas Day, 1849. Before them lay not what they so desperately needed-a green, water-fed valley that world provide forage for their oxen and meat for the cook pot; instead, they saw a sight quite unlike anything they had seen before. A vast depression lay before them, stretching to the north and south as far as the eye could see, and bounded on the west by a great mountain range (the Panamints) rising more than two vertical miles above the valley floor. In the bottom of the valley lay not the cottonwood-lined river or willow-bordered lake they hoped for, but rather, a great expanse of salt and mud and sand. Having already traversed hundreds of miles of desert in western Nevada, they had little idea of just where they were. They believed the sleepy village of Los Angeles must surely lie just beyond the next mountain range. In truth, they were still at least 150 miles northeast of there (as the raven flies). The green, spring-fed meadows of Las Vegas, which would have provided the water and forage they needed, lay roughly 100 miles east of them. This group of 49ers (as they are now known) had unwittingly discovered the hottest, driest, and lowest place on the North American continent. (excerpt from introduction)

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