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Tag: sunstar

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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Wonderland in White | Snow in JTNP #2

Having climbed into the tent by 7:30pm, exhausted after nearly two days without sleep, we fell asleep quickly despite the tent flapping wildly in the wind, the entire thing swaying - as I imagine a train car might - with each gust. Still, with warm feet and ear plugs, everything was dandy until just after midnight when I heard the pitter-patter of rain. Or was it? Rain, it turns out, isn't so bad as long as it stops early enough in the morning that the rain fly can dry out by the time we need to put the tent away.…

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Nivloc | Connect the Dots #5

Moonlit headframe. We arrived at Nivloc at what appeared to be midnight but was - according to multiple timekeeping devices - only a bit before 8:30pm. Still, even under the bight-as-day moon, we knew better than to poke around this old ghost-town-mine-site in the dark, so we unfolded the tent, read the most boring books ever on our Kindles (me: Bourne Ultimatum, @mrs.turbodb: Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent), and climbed into bed as I left the camera snapping one eight-second exposure after the next. I'd hoped to capture some amazing timelapse of…

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Bass Camp and Beyond | Connect the Dots #4

Hoping to get some photos before the sun was up and the cabin-under-a-rock was lost to the shadows, I set my alarm for too-dark-o'clock, and hit the snooze button a couple of times before finally pulling on my pants and climbing down the ladder to a beautiful morning. Even before the sun was over the horizon, the glow on the granite hillsides was magical. This old water tank caught my eye. Suddenly in a rush against the sun, I scampered up the hillside in search of a location where I could capture the entire camp. This - given the car-sized…

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Headed South... to the Arctic | Connect the Dots #1

It was refreshing 6°F as we emerged from the tent on the first morning of our trip. Without a doubt, @mrs.turbodb's statement the previous afternoon as we pounded away the miles in the warmth of the Tacoma - "We're headed south to the Arctic" - was top of mind. I'd ribbed her at the time - geography is her thing - but there was no question that the trip was off to an auspicious start. So, I'd better give a bit of background on how we ended up here. There isn't any *good* reason to "be" in temperatures like this.…

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Smoke in the Siskiyous | Siskiyou Crest 1

With much of our summer taken up with a kitchen remodel - perhaps a non-adventure story that I'll share some details of once we've completed it - and the Tacoma in Washington after we abandoned our non-refundable plane tickets after running the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (UTBDR) in July, we were looking for somewhere a little closer to home as we started feel the antsy urge to escape to the outdoors. Not having had the time to plan a route - a process I enjoy, but that can consume nearly as much time as a trip itself - it dawned…

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Road Canyon Three Ways | R&R 3

I was pooped when I climbed into the tent on the edge of the West Fork of Johns Canyon. A full day of hiking (I'd covered more than 16 miles), after only a few hours of sleep (about five), meant that I knocked out a full three minutes of reading before my eyes closed and my thumb stopped "turning pages" of Tom Clancy's Red Winter. Sleep was bliss. I'm not sure I woke up at all before the soft charm of my alarm - a little diddy that everyone probably knows from YouTube survey ads that play before videos but…

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An Ancient Highway | Three Ways #3

Even with the wind - and intermittent snow - buffeting the tent through much of the night, a good pair of ear plugs enabled us to get a reasonable night's sleep at the southern end of the Mojave Preserve's Mid Hills, near Hole in the Wall. We'd camped in this spot once before - when there was much more snow on the ground - and so upon waking up just as the sun was peeking over the horizon, I climbed out of the tent to do a bit of exploration. Good morning swiss cheese butte. Knowing of some nearby petroglyphs,…

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A Stroll through the Rocks | Three Ways #2

Having drifted off to sleep to the pleasant pitter-patter of rain, it was extra nice to wake up just before sunrise to clear skies and a completely dry tent. Letting @mrs.turbodb bank a few more minutes of shut-eye, I headed to a nearby ridge to watch the sun crest the horizon. Surrounded by mountain fingers, any westerly winds had been kept at bay through the night. Half an hour later, my whistle - carried across the sandy slopes on a cool breeze - was answered in kind as @mrs.turbodb started her morning routine while I retraced my steps back to…

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Saving the Best for Last | Joshua Tree #5

Perched above I-10 and the Chuckwalla Valley - which for some reason, I'd previously assumed was on the south side of the Chuckwalla Mountains where the Bradshaw Trail passed through the Chuckwalla Bench - I was relieved when the previously rambunctious winds died down after sunset. Having gotten very little sleep the night before, I fell asleep quickly and slept soundly - perhaps my best night of sleep the entire trip - waking well-rested about a half hour before sunrise, so I could get an early start to my day. A nice place to wake up on the final morning…

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Cary's Castle | Joshua Tree #4

Uncomfortably hunkered down in the passenger seat of the Tacoma with a towel covering my legs for warmth, I spent the first few hours of the night transferring photos to my computer and doing a bit of reading. By 9:00pm, winds were strong enough that waves of sand where being thrown against the side of the truck as it rocked relentlessly with each 60mph gust. It wasn't until nearly midnight - after falling asleep for a few hours - that I decided I really ought to point the nose into the wind. ...HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4…

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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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Little Black Mountain, Caanan Gap, and Paiute Cave | Not the Rock Art #4

I'd pulled into my camp site just south of the Utah - Arizona border a little after 10:00pm. At an elevation of 2,700 feet, even with a little breeze, it was balmy compared to what I'd experienced the last couple nights in Nevada. Orienting the truck so the morning sun would act as a natural alarm - spilling into the tent as I slept - I soon drifted off to sleep, excited for the easter-egg-like hunt that I envisioned when I awoke. Little Black Mountain My wake-up plans were foiled when I awoke naturally before sunrise. Knowing that I'd have…

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Narrow Caves, a Gap, & a Broad Wash | Not the Rock Art #3

From Rainbow Canyon, I'd planned to drive a couple hours east - through the darkness - to a fantastic petroglyph site that I could enjoy when the sun crested the horizon the following morning. But, as is often the case, I was easily distracted as I set up the navigation system and noticed that my route would take me right by Cathedral Gorge State Park. We'd briefly stopped at Cathedral Gorge for breakfast on a previous trip south to explore the eastern Mojave, but we hadn't spent much time there and I knew that what we'd seen at Miller's Point…

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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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We Almost Turned Around | M&M #3

All aired up, Mike @Digiratus and I were about to spend the rest of our day on pavement. Well, pavement or its equivalent at any rate, since there are a good many highways - like BC-31 - that are gravel, but are so well groomed that we could easily achieve pavement speeds. Like the state of Nevada, southeastern British Columbia is comprised of a series of ranges that run north-south, separated by valleys and lakes. And, while the trails we wanted to run - out of the Radium Hot Springs area - were only one range east, and less than…

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Hard Times at Poker Flat | Plumas 1

For much of my childhood, summers were spent in the Plumas National Forest. I have such fond memories of waking up in our favorite campground, earning Junior Ranger patches, and fishing in creeks recently stocked with so many fish that the stream bed was obscured by wriggling tails. And yet, when out exploring as an adult, I've spent almost no time in the Sierra, much less the Plumas National Forest. So, it was with great anticipation that we set out to wind our way through on the Plumas National Forest Backcountry Discovery Trail. Like a BDR, we figured this would…

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Atlantic City to Shoshoni - Through the Wind River Basin | WYBDR 5

Heading out of Atlantic City, we were both looking forward to a leisurely stroll around the ghost town of South Pass and the nearby Carissa Mine. I actually envisioned them as similar to - but perhaps better than - the amazing ghost town of Bodie, California, which I'd visited the previous fall. As we approached, it was immediately clear that SOMETHING WASN'T RIGHT. We'd felt that Atlantic City had been crowded, but South Pass was something else entirely. Above the town, an entire hillside had been converted into a parking lot, and hundreds of vehicles - of all types -…

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Alcova to Atlantic City - Disappointment | WYBDR 4

Heading out of Alcova, we were driving into the sun. I'm never a huge fan of this, since it makes it harder to enjoy the landscape into which we are adventuring, and I hoped that we'd find somewhere to camp quickly, or that we'd turn north so that the sun would at least be to the side. Not that I'd looked at the route and known that neither of those things were in the cards. When the sun is in your face and everything out the windshield is all shadows, remember - there's always a side view mirror! Before we…

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Owyhee's Best Hike | Out-and-Backs #1

I always look forward to the changes of spring. Warmer weather pushing north means that the snow melts, opening up more places for exploration. For a short time, everything seems so green and colorful. Flora showing off their brightest colors to the world - perhaps with the exception of fall aspen - celebrating the longer days with enthusiasm. Usually - no matter where I'm headed - I look for routes that are through - or at least loop - routes, giving me as much new terrain as possible over my limited time in the outdoors. That - naturally - leaves…

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