Homeward Unbound — Chapter 2: Crater Lake, Camping, Death Valley, and a Near Death Experience

Anand Swamy
7 min readMar 21, 2021
Valley of Fire State Park— Clark County, NV

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Crater Lake

We were about 50 minutes away from Crater Lake. The Northern Rim was completely snowed in so we had to take the long detour, but we had to cut the trip short and leave.

We had no service and were probably 2 hours away from anything resembling civilization.

Alicia’s resting heart rate jumped to 168 bpm, and her blood oxygen levels were in the mid-’50s. To give you some context, a normal resting heart rate for an average human is 60–100 bpm, and her blood oxygen levels were at acceptable levels for someone that’s embarking on their last nap.

I used every ounce of self-restraint to remain calm even though my stomach started to twist like a kaleidoscope. I have been meditating and exercising religiously because I no longer have a choice. I have to be someone she can depend on and the daily sabbath to put my body in discomfort has been useful for times like this.

We eventually got back to the main road and started heading to Klamath Falls, which was the final destination for the day. I researched altitude sickness, and told Alicia, that this may have added to the stress she felt today.

Although we are seeing some of America’s most breathtaking natural sites, this healing trip is not without challenges.

Looking for a place to stay is an everyday ordeal. Going into buildings (grocery stores, gas stations, etc.) can turn Alicia’s condition into crisis mode. It’s been a learning experience for me in how poorly maintained much of the buildings in America are.

Oftentimes when we are sick and don’t feel well, we are told to eat better, exercise more, and cultivate a healthier mindset. While all these things are super important, we seldom ask if our homes are also healthy.



Anand Swamy

I write about personal development and self awareness.