an old borax-processing town between LA and Death Valley.
Mr. Octopus and I celebrated Earth Day by driving 270 miles to Death Valley National Park. I'd like to think that visiting national parkland and being in the wilderness makes up for all the gas we used to get there.
Some facts about the park: It's the largest national park outside of Alaska. Herbert Hoover designated Death Valley as a national monument in 1932; Congress passed a bill that made it a national park in 1994. In the late nineteenth century, certain areas were mined for borax, a boron compound used in detergents, disinfectants and pesticides, among other things. Chinese laborers were brought from San Francisco to mine for borax and twenty-mule teams hauled the borax over 160 miles to the nearest town. During the Depression, the CCC built roads and buildings within the park. Some of these buildings were later used to house Japanese during WWII.
Later functioned as a Japanese internment camp.
Badwater. The lowest point in the western hemisphere (282 feet below sea level). The white stuff is accumulated salts.