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Death Valley, coyotes and Mr. Grouch

• Mar 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Blogger Liesa Swejkoski says she goes camping twice each year, and she recently wrote about her adventures in a Death Valley (California) campground.

“I think I’m getting too old for this torture, but inevitably I plan another trip, pack up my little Saturn and I’m on my way again,” she wrote. “For the past couple years my daughter and I thought that Death Valley in the winter time would be a good choice. Let me tell you, it’s still more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit during early March — and I hate the desert.”

Aside from it being a great place to see meteor showers and comets, she notes that there is always “an assortment of of scorpions and flea-infested, plague-carrying rodents.”

A passage in the post is worth relaying in its entirety. It’s about a group of guitarists, banjo pickers, accordionists and fiddlers who gather around a campfire for a jam session:


"The musicians always wind up just before 10 pm. One evening two years ago, my daughter and I went back to our tent around nine. We listened to the music, hypnotic in a way, the guitars strumming and low voices singing. Then some guy yelled at the top of his lungs, ‘Shut that music down!’ The melodies continued, the night wind rustled a little. During pauses, coyotes could be heard singing their own songs of loving and feasting. Then a fiddle began a lonesome Irish ballad. ‘Shut it down already!’ I was jolted awake again.

“This continued until ten. I guess the old grouch didn’t realize that his barking was creating more of a disturbance than this traditional, decades old jam session (music’s version of a pick-up game). Lights out. Ten pm. The coyotes were closer and they began their nightly serenade. I waited anxiously for Mr. Grouch to yell at our howling, furry neighbors, but by then I think he’d given up hope for a good night’s rest. Do what the rest of us do: gaze up to the sky and let the blanket of stars dazzle your senses.”

Read the complete blog post: “Death Valley, Coyotes and Snake Oil”

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