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So we have the ellusive pupfish, volcanic craters and scrambles through Golden Canyon in Death Valley - and if that wasn't enough, there is more.  I swear all these National Parks are like Disneyland, except for maybe the Grand Canyon, but I will get to that another day.  

To the left is the Devil's Golf Course.  When I first saw the sign pointing out this attraction, I drove on by, thinking it was actually a golf course (I have always had a bit of trouble taking everything literally).  But I had this niggling suspicion, or common sense perhaps since there were no signs of a golf-course in sight, that perhaps this was some sort of joke.  So I turned the car around and sure enough - no golf course.  Instead was a sea of odd rocks covered in white formations - salt! So strange how something can look like a boring sea of brown from afar, but on closer inspection is so cool!  No, although tempted, I did not taste the salt. 

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Another Death Valley attraction is Scotty's Castle.  Walter E. Scott (or Death Valley Scotty) first was part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and later a con-man.  He did try to honestly start a mining operating, but after that did not pan out, he still went ahead gaining investors.  For many years he convinced them that he had an operational mine and took their money.  Eventually he was outed, but could not be convicted due to some technicality.  He must have been quite a charmer because somehow he became good friends with one of the men he scammed - good enough friends in fact that this man, Johnson, supported Scotty, as well as his estranged wife and child for the rest of their lives.  Although this is Scotty's Castle, Johnson was the one to build it and Scotty never actually lived there (Johnson built him another house somewhere else), but he would come up for dinner parties and tell stories of his escapades.


When I visited Scotty's Castle, the tours were finished for the day, so I wandered around the grounds on my own.  I watched a short clip from a video which (completed unrelated) was talking about how burros were introduced to the desert and then abandoned after the mining operations closed down.  These burros went on to thrive in the desert and have become a bit of a nuisance.  Every year they are rounded up and brought to a farm in Ridgecrest (I stayed a night there on my way) where the public can adopt them.  If only I had known this while I was in town!!!  What kind of paperwork do you think I need to bring a burro back across the border? ;)    

 


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