Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Devils Hole

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Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Devils Hole

[image:PacificSouthwestRegionUSFWS/flickr] Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Ash Meadows is a pretty special wildlife refuge. It was declared a part of Death Valley National Park in 1952, even though it’s located slightly away from the rest of the park. This act was what helped pave the way for Ash Meadows to become a refuge. It’s now protected as an internationally imported wetland. This beautiful oasis is home to a large variety of plants and animals that aren’t found anywhere else on this planet. It also includes a giant mystery called Devils Hole, the last remaining natural habitat for the ancient and endangered pupfish.

[image:PacificSouthwestRegionUSFWS/flickr] Devils Hole Pupfish

Devils Hole Pupfish

Devils Hole

Devils Hole is the epitome of strange mysteries. If an earthquake is large enough, Devils Hole will feel it and the water shows it by splashing up to six feet high. Sometimes the earthquakes that cause this activity are located nearly halfway across the world, as far away as Japan, Indonesia and Chile. She’s a little temperamental.

When the Manson Family was hiding out not far from here, in Death Valley, it’s said that he was looking for a secret world located somewhere underground. Many people have speculated that he chose Death Valley as his hideout because he was convinced that Devils Hole was the entrance to this secret world. Witnesses claim that he would leave the camp with someone else and return alone. Perhaps he was testing his theory, the only question is whether or not his victims were willing participants.

[image:ShaneRobinson/flickr] Devils Hole

Devils Hole

Those who enter Devils Hole seldom come back out. Due to the undeterminable depth of this water hole, nitrogen poisoning becomes an issue. The bottom has never been found and it’s presumed to be over 500 feet deep. Diving down that far will put a person into what’s known as nitrogen narcosis. It’s a mind altering state where you are more likely to do something careless out of confusion, such as taking your mask off way too far underwater.

In 1965 a group of kids decided to go for an illegal dive in Devils Hole. Two of them were never found. Despite the rescue efforts of an experienced team of divers, no bodies were recovered. Items were found from both boys right around the depth where the narcosis would have taken effect. At 325 feet Devils Hole expands to a very wide area and it’s depths continue to plummet.

It’s likely that the two lifeless bodies continued to sink down to the bottom, or possibly they are still sinking in an effort to reach a non-existent bottom. You would imagine that the mini tsunamis caused by far away earthquakes might bring something back up with it. This has yet to happen. There’s always the other idea that they found the opening to a secret world and are now living their lives in an underground paradise. Although with a name like Devils Hole, I can’t imagine what type of paradise it would be.

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