Camaraderie over happy hour after dusty days in the field, friendships forged under hot desert sun, new personal and professional connections—although these things may not be what lured attendees to GSAF’s first-ever Rendezvous in April, they are the kinds of experiences and connections we left with after our six-day trip together based in Shoshone, California.
We were thrilled to kick off the Death Valley Rendezvous, the first in what we hope will become a series of one–two trips per year, with 25 participants from coast to coast. Some attendees were longtime friends of the Foundation, and some we were meeting for the first time; some were students, some current professional geologists across disciplines, others retired from long careers, and some were family members of geologists attending. The trip held interest for all: Death Valley and the surrounding area offer a fascinating spectrum of geology to ponder, from the towering walls of Titus Canyon to the Amargosa River Valley. Trip leader Darrel Cowan, who has spent his career studying this area, led lively, rich discussions at each site. In addition, we spent time talking about the ecology of the area with local Nature Conservancy naturalist Len Warren, from pupfish once thought to be extinct to the curious migration of the Phainopepla. One of the students—Jason Muhlbauer, a Wright-Troxel Research Grant recipient—even gave an evening presentation on his research focused on a nearby site. And Shoshone Village was a welcoming home base conducive for us to gather, relax, share ideas and reflections on the days over meals, and explore on foot between scheduled activities.
Feedback from participants has been so positive, and the slots filled so quickly, that we are encouraged to hold similar Rendezvous trips in the future. Keep your eyes out to see where our next destination will be!