Fred Ackerman is Founder and Chief Shepherding Officer of Black Sheep Adventures, a multi-sport adventure tour operator based in Berkeley, California. A graduate of MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering, he found his true calling in adventure travel or as he sometimes calls it “leisure engineering.” Click here to learn more about Fred.
Hiking through Death Valley. Photo: Fred Ackerman
We’ve just concluded another successful Smithsonian Journeys walking tour in Death Valley. At the start of the trip, one of the participants shared with the group what a friend had asked her, “Why would you choose to go to Death Valley?!” All twenty of us laughed for we each knew why we were there, but each of us had a different reason.
Despite its dark and foreboding name, Death Valley offers a diverse range of attractions. First there’s its obvious appeal for those with an interest in geology. Our Study Leader, Kirt Kempter, an expert geologist, delighted us in sharing his vast knowledge of the region’s many noteworthy geological formations such as snow-capped mountains, narrow marble walled canyons, towering sand dunes, volcanic craters, and the lowest spot in the western hemisphere—the salt flat at Badwater, 282 feet below sea level. Geologically the range of attractions is terrific, and there’s so much more. (more…)