This is a cool story! In Death Valley, the rocks move themselves. They are found, motionless, but with trails carved in the playa behind them. They can’t pretend it wasn’t them.

There is an active scientific effort to find out what makes it happen. Some dude thinks that the playa gets partially covered by a lake, which freezes and THEN gets blown along by the wind, dragging the rocks with it. Others think it’s just the wind moving the rocks without assistance from a frozen lake.

It’s odd, because reading the title and then seeing that the story was from Death Valley, I was immediately convinced that it would relate to a reading I saw a couple weeks ago by Ian Tuttle. It was a lovely story about a semi-ghost town that he had visited, where he found a guy who had moved a giant boulder down from the mountain by planting carrots at its base, which had gradually dislodged it. I had this vision of a guy driving his truck out to the foot of this mountain every day for six months, climbing up a few hundred feet and going to tend his little patch of carrots. As time passed, he would start noticing little cracks around the base of the rock where it was separating from the soil, then finally one day he would bring a selection of mallets and chisels and long poles and wedge a lever in under the rock and brace himself and push and push – crushing the carrots – and the rock would come creaking out of the ground, stand poised for a moment and then bowl down the mountain, crash, right into the truck parked at the bottom.

Anyway, that is not this story at all: this story is of sliding rocks and temporary freezing lakes.