Monday, February 22, 2010

Death Valley- A drive-through weekend

Death Valley happens to be the largest National Park outside of Alaska and a weekend simply does not do it justice; but a weekend we had- so we piled up the kids, ourselves, assorted snacks into our dinky car and hit the road. We tried to visit a part of the southern end of the park.We drove through most of the park but we did do a few beginner's hikes. We were hamstrung by having to carry a child on our back, as the picture indicates.

Luckily, we had chosen a relatively cool time to go- we even found some ice and made the smallest snowman ever.
The first evening we were there, we hiked a little off the main road to look up to old gullies on the hillside and trudge over spongy waterladen sand. It was a no pressure hike limited only by the approaching sunset, like the novices that we are, we had not packed a flashlight with us.

The next morning after a carb laden breakfast we drove all the way to the actual park with the first stop being at the Emigrant pass. Here is a a much more professional view of all the amazing geology of it all.

Our most challenging hike has to be at the Zabriskie Point where we had to go down to the old river beds to get a better view of the rock formations and the river bed. The children complained but drag them down we did. We were rewarded by otherworldly sights. Our next stop was the badlands area which happens to be the lowest point in the western hemisphere. There has been recent rainfall which has lead to this area being wetter than usual

Saturday, February 6, 2010


We were very lucky to have grand rounds by Faith Fitzgerald who was a great speaker and kept us very engaged with her magical medical mystery tour. Later on as we talked, I was extremely taken with her charm, authenticity and her love for the practice of medicine. It is so rare to find an Internist who retains their love of medicine and the patients who come to them.
One thing she said really resonated with me- I am paraphrasing but she said something like, if a hungry man goes to a grocery store and asks for food because he is hungry and the manager refuses to give him any, nobody bats an eyelid- the man runs a business and a business cannot be giving away its goods. Similarly, if a homeless man goes to a builder and insists that he be given shelter, nobody feels that he ought to be given a house. However, if a sick person goes to seek succor to a hospital and he does not get care, all of us are mortified and feel ashamed somehow.
This is why medicine cannot be a business.