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Tag: death valley

Searching for the Scallywag | Missing Death Valley #3

I slept soundly at the head of Ashford Canyon, two days of driving and hiking finally catching up to my aging body. Knowing that I'd have another long hike - and steep climb - ahead of me for the day, I spent a few minutes around camp, soaking in the sunrise and enjoying the shade that I knew I'd long for as the day went on. With the Tacoma still cool in the shade, a little glow on the Owlsheads, just as the sun is cresting the horizon. As I was eating my breakfast, I spotted this little guy near…

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In Over My Head | Missing Death Valley #2

Making my way south from Furnace Creek, I wasn't in any rush as I putzed along Badwater Road. With tourists swinging into the other lane to pass me by, I soaked in the ever-changing western face of the Black Mountains. Is it just me, or does it look like that guy is fishing in Lake Manley? No fish out there buddy! After passing the parking lot at Badwater, traffic thinned out significantly. Sure, there was still a bit - heading to or from Sidewinder Canyon or south towards Jubilee Pass and Las Vegas - but by and large I was…

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Mountains of Blue and Lakes of Green | Missing Death Valley #1

Driving Forever I don't know how we ever did it. Or why. Time after time, for five full years, we would spend nearly 24 hours in the Tacoma, making our way south - in a single shot - to the desert. At the behest of @mrs.turbodb, and following in the footsteps of Ken @DVExile - my Death Valley archetype - I wised up at the beginning of 2023 and haven't looked back. Still, every now and then the Tacoma has to come home for one reason or another. This time, it was to do some work on my rear leaf…

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Finishing Slit Canyon | Left, Again #3

Camped at the mouth of Johnson Canyon on the alluvial fan, we were a little worried that the wind would pick up overnight, but thankfully it was a very calm, and temperatures were once again quite pleasant. There were a few more clouds in the sky this morning, but they'd burn off by 8:30am. I wandered around on the desert pavement waiting for sunrise, while my companion snuggled down under the covers for a few more minutes of warmth- her favorite time of the "night," I think. Spring is coming. First of the flowers. Silly creosote, still decorated for Christmas…

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Finally Hiking Hungry Bill's | Left, Again #2

Except for the burro that decided to "eee-aww, eee-aww, eee-aww" in the middle of the night a little ways up canyon from our camp site, Galena Canyon was one of the most pleasant nights I've experienced in Death Valley in recent memory. The level of the tent was just right; there was just the tiniest bit of a breeze to keep air moving; and temperatures were extremely pleasant in the low 40s °F. I was well rested when my alarm went off just before sunrise, and soon I was poking around the mining area that we'd discovered the previous evening.…

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Better to be Lucky | Left, Again #1

With the Tacoma stored in Las Vegas and a 6:00am flight, we headed out the door a little after 4:00am for a 45-minute light rail ride to the airport. In high spirits - the trip south would only take two-and-a-half hours - our discussion focused on what hike we should tackle when we arrived in Death Valley a few minutes after lunchtime. Train tickets purchased, we headed to the platform to wait for the next train. Unfortunately, we'd neglected to research when the trains started running, and only as we were waiting did we discover that the first train wouldn't…

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Rainy Day | Left Behind #3

Good morning, Trail Canyon! We awoke to a morning much like most winter mornings in Death Valley - a smattering of clouds and temperatures in the mid-40s. We assumed - incorrectly, in hindsight - that the day would unfold much like our previous two, though I have to admit that I hoped that we could get through a few more miles of hiking than we'd achieved in Tail Canyon. Even I knew that my hope was more akin to a dream, but with any luck we'd still be able to get to the hike I'd been anticipating the most on this…

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The Trail Canyon Canyon Trail | Left Behind #2

Having gotten horizontal before just after 6:00pm the previous evening, I figured it wouldn't be hard to get up by 5:00am and hoof it a few miles up the North Fork of Trail Canyon - to Aguereberry Point - in order to capture some sunrise photos. Right. Fumbling frantically for the "turn off you stupid thing," button when my alarm went off, we proceeded to sleep another two hours until our internal alarms - err, bladders - just couldn't take it anymore. With 13 hours of sleep we were doing a great job wasting precious daylight and falling even further…

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Keane Wonder Mine | Left Behind #1

There are several places that I've wanted to check out in Death Valley for quite some time, but that haven't fit into the route or schedule for previous trips. Hoping to knock off a bunch of those places that I've "left behind," I set about planning a route that would take us along West Side Road and the eastern escarpment of the Panamint Mountains. From there, we'd repeatedly climb into the canyons, exploring the mines, narrow passages, and vistas that each had to share. It would - I thought - be a lot like our trip along the Nadeau Trail,…

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Big Mine, Small Dunes | Inyo East #3

It was 2:00am when the light pitter patter of rain woke both @mrs.turbodb and me from our cozy sleep in the mouth of canyon on the eastern escarpment of the Inyo Mountains. "Guess I waited too long to go pee," she said. "Me too," I replied. It was the first time - in more than 80 nights in the park - I've ever experienced rain at night in Death Valley. Of course, while the whole bathroom thing was inconvenient, my biggest hope was that the rain would tail off reasonably quickly, allowing the tent to dry off before we had…

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Tramways and Waterfalls, Cascading Down Canyons | Inyo East #2

Nestled into the mouth of an unnamed canyon of the eastern Inyo Mountains, sleep came quickly after climbing into the tent a little after 8:00pm. For five hours, everything was great - temperatures were perfect, in the low 40s °F, a gentle breeze cascaded down the canyon, and clear skies eliminated any anxiety about putting the tent away wet in the morning. Then, as if to remind us that conditions should never be taken for granted in the desert, the wind picked up. As though a switch had been flipped, gusts up to 40mph seemed to appear out of nowhere.…

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Into the Inyo | Inyo East #1

We wrapped up our long drive south as we turned onto CA-168 from Big Pine. My plan - crazy as it seems now - had been to get all the way to our first trailhead prior to calling it a day, but given that it was already 3:00am and the trip over North Pass and into Saline Valley would take another 90 minutes, it seemed prudent to find camp rather than risk needing to do so in the much colder elevations should the pass be... impassable. There was no getting up at sunrise. Nestled in a small side canyon and…

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More than a Ghost Town | Panamint City #2

My night on a concrete floor in Panamint City was the worst camping experience of my adult life. Really, there was nothing redeeming about any aspect of it, so entertain me while I complain momentarily, completely aware that this is all my own fault! The sleeping bag was a disaster. In fairness to @mrs.turbodb - who warned me of this when I borrowed the bag from her - the fact that I could barely fit my shoulders into the bag, much less adjust my body at all once I was mummified, was super uncomfortable. Add to the fact that it…

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Hardest Hike Ever | Panamint City #1

For more than a year I've been trying to get to Panamint City. Despite requiring a 5.5-mile (one way) hike with more than 3,700 feet of elevation gain, trekking to-and-from this ghost town high on the western slopes of the Panamint Mountains isn't the issue. Rather, the problem presents itself once one has arrived: there is so much to explore - more than 10 miles of trail and another 5,000 feet of elevation - that there is no way to accomplish the round-trip in a single day. At least, not for this human. And this is where I should share…

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Big Mines and Squeeze Slots | Highway Hikes #2

It was shortly after 2:00pm when I arrived at the trailhead for my next destination. Literally parked along the shoulder of CA-190, anyone driving by might surely wonder, "why is a person parked here?" I know I was wondering why a white Tacoma was parked in the same spot, almost exactly one year earlier. Like the time of day, to the casual observer, there's nothing remotely remarkable about this place - though with a little knowledge, both the time and place become noteworthy. The time, because I had only a little over two hours - before sunset - to complete…

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A Loosely Planned Meetup | Highway Hikes #1

Generally, when I visit Death Valley, my goal is to explore the more remote regions of the park. Long lost dirt roads, canyons that entail as much climbing as hiking, and days without seeing another soul (with the exception of @mrs.turbodb) - these are the places we spend our time. As such, exploration of Death Valley proper - largely along CA-190 - has been light. Sure, most of the major tourist attractions have been seen, but surely in a place this inhospitable, even CA-190 holds special places that are only infrequently visited. Remote despite their proximity to pavement. With a…

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A Stressful Day in Pleasant Canyon | Stranded #2

Previously in Almost Stranded... It was - as we were contemplating camp, and headed through the grove of pinyon pine at the top of Pleasant Canyon - that I initially heard a clunking sound. To me, it sounded like it was coming from the front of the truck, as though something was dropping down and hitting the skid plate as the suspension flexed over the undulations of the road. Such a change of landscape from earlier in the day - I counted on these trees providing us a bit of shelter from the gusty winds. Getting out to inspect the…

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After a Day of Fun; Disaster! | Stranded #1

For the last four months, my sole destination has been Death Valley. This would be my sixth trip to the National Park, and with temperatures warming up elsewhere, likely the last visit of the season. I couldn't wait. Ever since December, when I'd ventured up Pleasant Canyon and South Park on the Back for More trip with my buddies Mike @Digiratus, Zane @Speedytech7, and Monte @Blackdawg, I'd been trying to get back. I'd planned an entire trip around that loop in early January, but snow levels turned out to be low at the time, and @mrs.turbodb and I were forced…

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Our Paths Finally Cross | Hiking #5

As I mentioned in the first post, I have organized this trip report a bit differently than most. Some of the hiking locations have little or no reporting on the internet and I feel they should remain that way; as such, locations will be redacted and/or not mentioned, and the order of the trip will be randomized. The first and last posts will cover some of the driving, in order to separate it - and location information - from the hikes. Please, if you know the locations of the hikes, I encourage you to enjoy them as much as I did…

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In Search of Lucky Rich's Riches | Hiking #4

As I mentioned in the first post, I have organized this trip report a bit differently than most. Some of the hiking locations have little or no reporting on the internet and I feel they should remain that way; as such, locations will be redacted and/or not mentioned, and the order of the trip will be randomized. The first and last posts will cover some of the driving, in order to separate it - and location information - from the hikes. Please, if you know the locations of the hikes, I encourage you to enjoy them as much as I did…

3 Comments