Mike Chowla
Death Valley 2011:

Death Valley

The name alone connotes a place of danger and extreme conditions. And during the summer, the heat in Death Valley is both extreme and dangerous. But in the winter, the temperatures are quite pleasant during the day though the sun still feels quite hot when it's beating down on you. I can only imagine how unbearably hot the summer sun is. The landscape is stunning and highly unusual. Death Valley posses a stark beauty that's unlike any where else I've been.

Scotty's Castle surprised me. I figured it would be touristy and not that compelling. But the place has a charm about it. The rangers who lead the tours tell great stories about Death Valley Scotty for whom the "castle" is named, which seems appropriate as Scotty's whole life revolved around being a great storyteller. So good in fact, the world overlooked the fact that Scotty had been a con man.