Feeling Alive in Death Valley…

I just got back from an amazing first trip to Death Valley National Park with some amazing people and I desperately want to go back.

Death Valley Sunset

Twitter has been amazing for a lot of reasons, but mostly for it’s role in allowing a community to come together that would otherwise probably never have any contact.  The weekly twitter chat #ATQA (Adventure Travel Question & Answer) has introduced me to a group of incredible people online and I’ve had the great fortune to meet quite a few of them in person.  So when #ATQA host and Adventure Travel Aficionado J. Brandon started talking about a group meet up in Death Valley, I was in without hesitation.

#ATQA is a pretty big community online and the weekly chats bring in a lot of participation.  But when it comes down to planning a trip, very few people can make it happen.  I have found this to be pretty typical with most group trip planning: lots of interest, little actual participation.  Not that that’s a bad thing, fewer people is often better and easier to manage, more flexible…and fewer people to drink my whiskey!

Mosaic Canyon ATQA- Death Valley

Three of us made it out to Death Valley and I could ‘t have spent my time in Death Valley with two better people.  Val said it best, “…an amazing confluence of travel, people, and place”.  It’s the trifecta of happiness!  I have always loved to travel and I’m not the cruise-ship-resort-tourist type of traveler.  I find real bliss traveling in dirty places, off the map, encountering real people and I generally enjoy the company of the people I find there.  Even though we were in the California desert only a couple of hours from Las Vegas, this felt like real travel.  Long bumpy drives on lonely dirt roads to obscure sign posts in the desert had something to do with that, but this really did have more to do with the people.  I haven’t had this sense of ease and understanding on a trip since traveling South America with my dad.

I think it’s easy to feel at home anywhere in the world, it’s rarely a “place” that makes me feel more comfortable and at ease.  Although there are places that call to me, like canyons and rivers, feeling at home is much more about the people you share that place with.  Those interactions and relationships are what shape an experience more so than the water, rock and sky.  Traveling solo is sort of a cheat, you can be comfortable in your community of ONE.  But traveling in a group, and feeling a definite sense of community and understanding is much harder to find.

I have to thank Val and J for making Death Valley one of my new favorite places and I can’t wait to go back for more.


Teakettle Junction- Death Valley

Images from this trip are available on my gallery at WildernessDave.Photoshelter.com.

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Dave Creech is a successful business owner and entrepreneur based in Phoenix, Arizona. He shares his personal story and lifelong passion for travel and rugged outdoor adventure through his blog at WildernessDave.com. David’s focus has been on trip stories, gear reviews, Wilderness Medicine and a series of articles aimed at introducing Yoga to hikers and backpackers as a path to staying fit, healthy and injury free.



  1. Man I am way jealous of y’all. Looks like you three had a great adventure, I wish I could have joined this ATQA meet-up! One day. :)

    • Yes, Katie….we talked about your unacceptable absence from the #ATQA adventure. As Co-Host your attendance in such affairs is mandatory, or didn’t you read your contract? ;)

  2. Well said Dave. One of the best parts is being with folks who will let you detox & not have to be particularly chatty if you don’t feel like it. Groovy.

  3. Awesome trip. So glad we got to do this together. Many thanks to Dave and Val for the great company and for sharing the adventure on your blogs afterward. I think I didn’t realize that I had the most experience in Death Valley among our little group until we actually started heading out into the backcountry. It was a treat to share some of my favorite places with you and to see them again through your experiences.

    Death Valley is a huge and fantastic place. I have been there many times and always see something new every time I go. I’m ready to go again whenever you are.



  1. […] My buddy Dave has a much better grasp of the language required to express groovy trips so I’ll hand the floor over to him… Feeling alive in Death Valley. […]

  2. […] Death Valley National Park with @AmericanSahara and @valinreallife […]

  3. […] I love his storytelling style, how he emphasizes the story instead of just trip reports. He wrote a great post about being in Death Valley (that I read this past week although he wrote it way long ago… Really enjoyed it. His blog is loading super-slow tonight so try it again tomorrow. I get his stuff […]

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