A weekend in Death Valley to revive

I took a weekend off from the Dayton Museum to go to my favorite destination, Death Valley. I was looking forward to the nice warm weather the Valley always promises this time of year. Boy, did I get warm weather, too!

Friday, I spent the day languishing in the hot water at Tecopa Hot Springs on the edge of Death Valley. It is supposed to have healing powers according to the Shoshone Indian tribe. I believe it. It could be I needed the change but I swear I felt 100 percent revived after several hours of soaking.

The early Spanish explorers heard of some springs that healed, but the American Indians steered them away from their sacred springs. The Old Spanish Trail went close by but the Indians managed to keep the Spaniards from finding them.

Anyway, I found them several years ago and it has been one of the "must do" things when I go to Death Valley. I also went over to the hidden oasis I love called China Ranch Date Farm. I have taken people there over the years and they are always enchanted with the location. Owners, Brian and Bonnie Brown are active in promoting Tecopa and the area's history. Dates grown there are used in making the best breads and cookies and they taste pretty good too.

I met my friends in Death Valley on Friday evening. It was a beautiful evening, warmer than usual. The coyotes were very vocal all night and seemed to be right in camp. I had to kick off the covers during the night it was so warm.

Next day, it really warmed up to nearly 100 degrees. I decided to stay close to camp and lounge around all day. I did go to the museum as usual but came back to camp to take a nap. I woke up in time to watch a roadrunner bob and weave its way through camp. A coyote sauntered through about the time my crew came back from their hikes.

Sunday, one of my friends and I went back to Tecopa and the Dates Ranch. Since she had never been to Dante's View, we drove up to the cool air. The view of Death Valley from there is spectacular but smog from Los Angeles often hinders all that beauty.

I loved my trip but also loved getting home to the tune of an 80-degree day to relish memories of a fun trip.

The Dayton Museum is at Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. It's also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week upon request and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out the Web site: daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

• Ruby McFarland is a board member of the Dayton Historical Society, a docent at the museum and has lived in Dayton since 1987.


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