Taking a Break from the Academic Heat in Death Valley

For many high schoolers, Spring Break is a good time to, well, take a break from high school and go explore collegiate options. College students can tell when these spring breaks begin as the campus tours become more frequent and crowded. Though high schoolers are excited to come explore campuses, college students can’t wait to take the opportunity to get off campus. So if not going home for a week, where do some Mudders go for break? One example: Death Valley.


I have not personally been to Death Valley, but Joe Sinopoli (’17) told me about his trip. An avid outdoorsman, he, Sarah Anderson (’17), Lakshay Akula (’17), Kevin Smith (’17), and John Lee (’19) spent some time in the middle of spring break hiking around the awesome landscape, which will be mostly illustrated through the pictures below. For the trip, the group started by climbing about a mile of mountain, bringing 600 feet of rope to ensure that there was some to spare in case any go caught. After they began walking down the mountain, they found canyon that contained an oasis. To reach the bottom, they set up a rope and webbing (for safety!) and rappelled down two waterfalls of heights 50 and 110 feet.


From left to right: John, Sarah, Joe, Lakshay, and Kevin.



Sarah take a break from belaying for a picture.


Joe rappelling down the 110 foot waterfall.

Needless to say, I thought the trip sounded really cool, and I am hoping to go to Death Valley soon. Apparently some springs there is a thing called the “super bloom” where parts of the valley fill with wildflowers. This normally happens during an El Niño year, which is this year, but I am hoping to catch another bloom next year. We will just have to see if Southern California is still in a drought or if some nice rains come through.