GIVING HISTORY A HELPING HAND: When we visualize remote desert-based landmarks, the kind made of rock or adobe or hardwood, we very often think of a timeless, unchanging structure that'll weather the ages. You might have pictured a Grand Canyon gem, one designed by the great Mary Colter, or perhaps a hard-to-reach hotel or lodge, the kind that's seen a million guests. Scotty's Castle, one of the famous destinations inside Death Valley National Park, also qualifies on the desert-based, timeless front, but sometimes places that are meant to weather the ages get struck with some serious weather. That's just what happened to the popular attraction over the middle weekend in October, when "the largest flood ever recorded at Scotty's Castle" arrived with an epic storm on Sunday, Oct. 18. The videos from the park tell the tale of sudden lakes forming within hours and rushing currents sweeping away branches and rocks. But the further part of the tale is what occurred at the home once owned by Albert and Bessie Johnson: Extensive damage. Scotty's Castle is now closed "and will remain closed for a minimum of several weeks" due to "damage to roads, utilities and some historic structures."
THOSE WHO COUNT THE CASTLE... as a favorite family destination, one that they've revisited multiple times over the years, may heave a sigh of disappointment, especially if a holiday trip was planned to the '20s-era favorite. But the bigger sighs being sighed likely spring from a supporter's wish to do something for this true gem of the American West, one that represents a certain pioneer spirit and remote scrapiness, qualities once possessed by the castle's namesake and local raconteur, Walter Scott. If you want to lend a hand to the landmark, there's the Scotty's Castle Adopt-a-Room Program, which is a nifty way of putting your funds into a specific area of the house. If you want to learn more about the park damage wrought by the mid-October flood, you can stay abreast with the Death Valley Natural History Association or the National Park Service. If you want to make a one-time donation to help with the restoration of the castle, the DVNHA is a fine place to start.