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Notes From Deep Springs III

Bennet Bergman attends Deep Springs College in California and will be writing about his life in the Sierras. Read Volume I and II here and stay tuned for more “Notes From Deep Springs” in the coming weeks.

The floor of the valley I live in is covered in desert scrub—mostly sagebrush—so even in the wettest months of the year the desert barely achieves a greenish hue. To be sure, Deep Springs has a sparing beauty for its thousand shades of dust, and climbing a ridge to watch the occasional storm spill over the lip of the valley is striking in its own right. But spend a few months out here and you start dreaming jungle scenes. With that in mind, last weekend I tripped up to Dead Horse Meadow in the White Mountains, where I was told I could find some real greenery. It’s true, it’s up there—something short of a jungle, but not half bad.

MP3: Wild Belle – Take Me Away

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August 6, 2012 | Notes From Deep Springs | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Notes From Deep Springs II


In Volume II of Notes From Deep Springs, Bennet Bergman talks about the Eureka Dunes. Bergman attends Deep Springs College in California and will be writing about his life in the Sierras. Stay tuned for more “Notes from Deep Springs” in the coming weeks.

Last July, nineteen of us took a trip to the Eureka Valley sand dunes on the night of the full moon. Eureka is just the next valley over from us, but the drive takes a couple of hours over roughly-graded gravel roads. We’re lucky to be so close—Eureka is in the northernmost region of Death Valley National Park, and it’s a pretty low-traffic area, even though it’s home to some of the highest dunes in North America, and on the full moon it’s totally gorgeous and prehistoric.

What else? These dunes sing. If you hike up the steep face of the highest dune and slide back down again, the avalanche of sand produces a sound “like a bass note of a pipe organ or the distant drone of an airplane,” according to the Park Service. If nineteen of you hike up and swim back down the slope on your bare bellies and backs, the dune groans like California is coming loose from the contintent and it rattles your body like you were lying on a giant tuning fork.

The phenomenon is called singing sand, and whether or not you can get it to happen depends on the size, shape, mineral composition and moisture levels of the sand in the dune. Pretty neat. Come check out Eureka.
May 3, 2012 | Notes From Deep Springs | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

NOTES FROM DEEP SPRINGS

** It is with great pleasure I introduce Bennet Bergman, a new guest contributor to Cold Splinters. Bergman attends Deep Springs College in California and will be writing about his life in the Sierras. Stay tuned for more “Notes from Deep Springs” in the coming weeks.**

I live in a valley the size of Manhattan in the Eastern Sierras with fourty-four people and 300 head of cattle. The closest town is an hour away, and there’s not much out here: a small farm, a ranch, and an all-male liberal arts college called Deep Springs, which has been here for almost a century. Twenty-eight students attend. The college is free, so besides classwork each week we put in twenty hours of labor on the ranch as a way of earning our keep.

For the most part this place is student-run. We cook for each other from the garden we keep, we choose all our professors, classmates and course offerings, we fix each other’s cars and cut our own hair. We work hard and eat well. Most of us are twenty-year-old boys and since we live on a ranch, it’s been easy for me to get caught up in playing cowboy. But we still like dancing to the sex-pop of Katy Perry and Ke$ha on Friday nights in the kitchen, and we ride horses when there’s time.

March 27, 2012 | Notes From Deep Springs | Continue Reading | Comments { 10 }