I met Chop & Hesh in Death Valley, where they were gracious enough to share their site at the otherwise full Emigrant campground in Death Valley National Park. Full-time travelers and full-on free spirits, these two spend several weeks at Death Valley each year to celebrate their anniversary and relax in the natural beauty of the Park. 

Name / Trail Name: Jesse & Leah / Hesh & Chop

What’s your primary activity on public lands? Chilling, meeting people from all over the world because you never know who you’re going to meet here. It’s a really social spot with an amazing community. We live here right now – people can stay for weeks at a time, and there are lots of hot springs we like to hit.

What do you do when you’re not adventuring? It’s usually in the car, traveling to another spot, visiting friends and family, or checking out places we haven’t been yet. And we have to make money somehow. I’m (Hesh) a musician, so when I have a guitar I try to pick up some that way.

Why is Death Valley special to you? Tumpisa (the Shoshone name for Death Valley) provides – whatever it is that you’re needing, you can find it here: food, fuel, solitude, company. The desert helps you slow down. You notice the small things, like this dove, all these tiny flowers… you see the small stuff, because you have to out here.

When did you first learn of Death Valley? Because we always came to California every year, it became a destination. Most people I know never wanted to come here. It’s a National Park; we’ve always been into that. We stayed in Marble Canyon the first year (2014) and we got rained out for three days. We’ve been coming every year since for several weeks around our anniversary in March.

Any other favorite spots you recommend? In Yosemite National Park,  Wawona and Mariposa Grove.  Sol Duc Springs in Olympic National Park – there’s a rainforest, glacier, hot springs, and waterfalls all in the same park!