by Owen Rojek
Death Valley National Park, California
Elevation: 282 feet
Breathe...I tell myself as my breath comes in increasingly frequent gasps and frosts in front of my face. My heart is starting to race and my lungs ache from the dry, cold air that fills them. Not since double sessions for my high school soccer team have I felt so out of shape. I look up as I take my next step and see that I still have a long way to go. As my foot sinks into the sand of the Eureka Sand Dunes located in the remote Eureka Valley in Death Valley National Park, a slight smirk tugs at the corners of my mouth.
Death Valley, a place known as the hottest place on earth, is sure cold in the winter. I push on, not stopping for breaks, and smile as I reach the true top of the Eureka Sand Dunes. I look down 680 feet to the valley floor, grinning ear to ear. This is a sight worth seeing. As I gaze across the dunes, the sand dances on the wind creating new patterns on its surface. I raise my camera and spot a group of four off in the distance slowly making their way to the top. As they approach, two pull ahead and start the final ascent to the top of the dune. As they reach the top, we nod our greetings, and they stop to take in the sight. Their breath puffs in front of their faces, and I can see in their eyes that they too know that Mother Nature never gives a view worth seeing without making you earn it.
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"Create Your Own Experiences"
by Kettler Thomas
The Summit is created by a team of guest writers and photographers.
Header photo courtesy of Kyle Sipple