|5 trucks in the desert|
How does one retell the story of a 9 day trip in the desert? If I was Hunter S. Thompson, I'd probably enlist the help of an attorney, a multitude of controlled substances, and a bottle or two of whiskey, creatively crafting my words to tell the tale. I'll have to settle for Sharon and a cold Lagunitas IPA.
I must warn you. A blog is not the perfect medium for such a tale, so if you're looking for a quick read, you might as well close your browser window. But, if on the other hand, you're interested in immersing yourself in the awe inspiring world of the desert, then by all means, continue scrolling.
Where to begin? Oh yes, right at the beginning. Even though last minute packing took a bit longer than we had hoped for, I was restless in bed by 3:30 am, a full hour before the alarm clock was set to jar us out of bed. I couldn't wait to get in the Jeep and head into the Mojave. Forgetting about coding, performance testing, and debugging. Forgetting about meetings and TPS reports. Just 10 people, 5 trucks, their camping gear, and the desert as their oyster; or perhaps a scorpion would be more fitting.
We pulled into the agreed upon parking lot at Casa de Fruta, just off of CA-152 early. Right away, we spotted another vehicle; a tan TJ Cruiser loaded to the brim with firewood and camping gear strapped to the roof rack. "They must be with us" we thought. Though we met all the participants at a gathering a couple weeks earlier, we did not know what everyone was driving, but our guess turned out to be right. The TJ belonged to Chris with Cathy riding shotgun.
“KC6QIG, this is KK6CZO, do you read?” “I hear you and now I see you,” the response came in over the speaker. Dave and Jenny arrived in their Xterra, followed shortly by Jim, Ann, and Roger in the Ford Expedition, known endearingly as the Moose. Last but not least, the mean green machine, Frank's Chevy truck completed the convoy. We worked fast ensuring that everyone had radios in their vehicles and swapping passenger; Roger would be riding with Frank.
Sharon and I don't often go over Pacheco Pass while the sun is still out, but regardless, the sight of San Louis Reservoir is always synonymous with the start of an adventure. Traffic on this fine Saturday morning cooperated and after a few stops for gas, lunch, steak at Harris Ranch for the meat eaters, and distribution of the vegan cocounut cupcakes from Chef Chloe's recipe (these really seemed to go over well, as they should have given they were DELICIOUS) which we brought, we arrived at the Gateway to the Mojave; the town of Baker. After fueling up and filling our jerry cans, we continued on pavement for a few more miles before finally turning off onto a dirt road in search of camp.
Driving with our eyes peeled for any suitable spot, a structure in the distance caught our eyes and the exploratory instincts kicked in. We turned our vehicles onto a road headed toward the structure and as we approached, a cabin began to materialize. Enough space out front for the 5 trucks and our clocks indicating time for happy-hour influenced our decision to call this home for the night.
The cabin was in excellent shape. An outhouse, complete with toilet paper and flower pots, sat just a hundred feet away. An inviting front porch housed a couple of chairs, ash-trays, makeshift tables, and ammo rounds, both spent and live. The targets lay just across the wash. Inside we found supplies such as canned food, bottled water, cooking pots and stoves, jackets, hats, and even 3 bunks. The back porch was complete with more chairs and a hammock stretched from the support beams. A weary traveler could arrive here with nothing and subsist in desert luxury for a few days.
From the journal and photographs inside we were able to gather some history of the place. The one room shack was known as Jake's Cabin, though it did not belong to Jake. Jake found the place with his two dogs 12 years prior and spent his spare time repairing it. Using the cabin as his personal retreat he collected the scattered roof shingles and nailing them back. He built the outhouse and outfitted the place with supplies. A sign, written in sharpie on the front door read, "Use but don't abuse...duh". Quite the find indeed.
In the morning, anxious to get our boots sandy, we started exploring. First, hiking up the wash, we discovered and old ore chute. Sharon, having gone ahead with some of the gang, found a geocache in the decrepit wooden structure. Without looking! "A lifelong dream," she exclaimed. She hid it and made me search as well. I’ll give it a one on difficulty. From there some of us started ascending switchback up the mountainside towards a tailings pile. Though the mines here were not very impressive, the switchbacks lead to somewhat of a plateau. We discovered desert blister beetles, mating, and feeding on what I believe was brittlebush. Their black bodies contrasted with their bright red-orange heads and legs and the yellow of the flowers are still imprinted in my head.
Back at camp, we loaded up the trucks and headed towards the Owlshead Mountains. We discovered the remnants of an abandoned, old car and after piling in for a group photo we headed to Owl Hole Springs. Here, lay the remnants of a large mining operation. The spring itself emptied into a watering hole providing sustenance for lush vegetation. Given the corral fencing around it, the hole must have served ranchers in the past. Thoroughly exploring the area we headed back towards the abandoned car to set up camp for the night.
Though we were tucked into a small canyon, or maybe because of it, the night was particularly windy. Mixing margaritas, wine, and beer, I ended up a bit drunk, likely to the annoyance of everyone else. The worst part...in the morning I didn't remember any of Cathy's Bronco stories. Apparently Bronco owners don't know how to take care of their trucks resulting in many a desert mishap. Wheels flying off and needing to be chased down? That can’t be good.
The goal for the day (would that be Monday now? it's amazing how the calendar loses its meaning in the desert) was the abandoned Epsom Salt Works in the Crystal Hills. Because of the relentless wind there was some doubt whether we would proceed with the hike, we decided to go for it.
3.5 miles out and cutting through the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center (yes we did disregard the "no trespassing" signs). The beauty of the Crystal Hills is hard to illustrate with words. The remnants of an ancient lake bed, the hills themselves take on many shades of pink, red, yellow, and brown. The name comes from the crystal deposits in the hillside which shimmer in the sunlight.
We explored many of the structures in the area, the highlight of which were the deteriorating trustless form an old monorail. That's right, a monorail. In order to excite investors, 28 miles of monorail were built to lug ore from the mine. The desert conditions not being favorable to the system along with the problem of finding an engine powerful enough to pull the carts yet light enough to ride the single rail made this project a failure. The mine, however, seemingly saw some degree of success. What investor riding a monorail could refuse? Another highlight was the baby rattlesnake, likely a Panamint Rattler, coiled in the middle of the "trail". Like the hills, the reptile's coloration was intriguing. The light tan body with its orange and brown markings lay sublimely still as we passed by.
Making a b-line back for the cars, we trespassed deeper onto the military property, but saved some time. Part of the group, leaving a bit earlier, managed to reach the car without getting wet. A drizzle, turning into a more intense rain briefly soaked the rest of us. Luckily we were in the desert and it drying off took no time at all in the arid environment.
We now drove to the end of Owlshead Road which terminated at a decommissioned radio tower. Taking in the far flung views, we headed back and found camp tucked into a relatively sheltered area in a canyon. The wind howled all night and dust devils were not infrequent. The wind already broke the poles on Roger’s tent the previous night, and now it nearly carried away Jim and Ann’s. I can only imagine what the night outside our nice MSR Fury would have been like.
Chris and Cathy included us in their meal, even providing Field Roast sausages. Having expected to cook for ourselves most of the trip our excess food was quickly building. The previous night Jim, Ann, and Roger fed us a splendid pasta sauce made from tomatoes grown at Charles Street Community Garden right in Sunnyvale. Tonight's sausages went down just as well and as an Eastern European, I made a point to scarf down as much sauerkraut as possible. If any of you guys are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE FOOD!!! White Russians (ours involved home-made coffee liquor and coconut milk) made for a tasty buzz.
Tonight was also the night that the desert flamingos infiltrated our camp. One by one they appeared. On the hillside. Next to a car. One even made a home out of our tent vestibule. Soon enough a dozen of these pink plastic creatures were scattered around camp resting on their metal wire legs. Where did they come from? As if Frank didn't have enough "gear" in his truck, he carried a box of 20 of them in the back. Excessive? Maybe. Delightful? Certainly! These were not ordinary flamingos. They have seen Burning Man. Dave, Chris, and I managed to attach a bird each to our trucks. Though Jim, Ann, Frank, and Roger were not early adapters of the flamingo truck ornaments, they jumped on the bandwagon the following night.
On our way back towards pavement and fuel we stopped at Saratoga Spring where a surprisingly large pool of water served as habitat for the Death Valley Pupfish. These tiny creatures are endemic to the area and so were truly amazing to see. I would think very few visitors to the park see them first hand. After some light mine exploration we returned to the trucks for a short drive and a stop for lunch. We ate with the sweeping sands of the Ibex Dunes in view.
In exchange for some of the Bronco stories, which I no longer recalled, I had promised to let Cathy drive the Jeep. Sharon jumped in the FJ and Cathy took the wheel. This may have been a bit of a mistake as now she knows how smooth the ride in an off-road rig can be compared to a bumpy Jeep. Cathy did enjoy the experience very much, even though she did get Ellie stuck in the sand. This was mainly my fault since when I asked her to switch the transfer case into 4WD, I didn't clarify she should do so while the vehicle is moving. For some reason, the t-case is a bit finicky if you try to go from 2H to 4H when stopped. With the wheels a quarter buried in sand as soon as we stopped, getting it moving again was an ordeal. I returned to my post in the driver’s seat and after depressing the clutch a few times and rocking back and forth I got Ellie into 4L. She got out no problem. Was there ever any doubt!
We rejoined the pavement of CA-127 and headed to Shoshone for gas and the use of flush toilets. Frank and Dave had found some roads leading into the Dublin Hills on BLM land where we were to camp for the night. However, the roads turned out to be in much worse shape than we expected. The best kept of the roads came to an end at a large gate with gigantic "NO TRESPASSING" and "YOU ARE UNDER SURVAILANCE" signs. The private property here was home to a man and his four dogs. Though he was not very talkative, he allowed us to turn around on his property.
One by one we turned off exploring side roads which either lead to nowhere or were too severely washed out to be passable, at least to some of our vehicles. Frank, Roger, and Chris tried some "road construction" only to find the road too badly deteriorated further on. Eventually, Dave found a route through a wash leading to a "suitable" camping spot. I parked the Jeep perpendicular to the canyon wall to serve as a windbreak for our cooking and though this did not help much, every bit counted. Tonight was our night to serve the vegan lentil sloppy Joes which everyone seemed to enjoy. Our other treats were a hit too. Homemade brown rice treats and Milano cookies hit the spot.
Passing through Death Valley Junction we headed toward the mining town of Ryan and pulled off the road to start the day's hike. We climbed up a "road" towards the Grand View Mine and the old Death Valley Railroad. Hiking next to the road was almost easier for as our theory goes some anti-road zealot brought in tons of rock and boulders and tore up the former road to the point that it would never be useable again. I’m not sure I understand bringing in foreign material to prevent a handful of vehicles from passing by.
The Grand View was nothing more than a giant sinkhole. Any shafts that may have been there in the past, and we did see evidence, were now caved in. The "baby" gauge rail was once used to carry ore between Ryan and the Grand View, eventually extending to the Lizzy V. Oakley and Widow mines. After mining halted the rail was used to carry park visitors. Much of the rail was in "decent" shape though parts were badly damaged. We even found a railroad switch which was still functional. From the imprints in the rails, they were forged in Illinois in 1915, the year it was built. Nearly a century old! We followed the railroad past the Lizzy V. Oakley Mine. Though from a distance this mine looked very interesting with possible un-gated shafts, lack of time and the condition of the railroad grade leading to it did not allow for exploration on this trip.
The hike terminated at the Widow Mine where we found giant pit after giant pit. The railroad definitely ended here; and how! We rushed back down the grade hoping to make it back in time to shower at Furnace Creek. We were under the impression that the showers at the resort would only be open till 5 or so, though upon arrival we learned that they were available until 11 pm (mentally noted). Though the idea of a pool and golf course in the middle of the desert is a bit extravagant, the ability to shower after stinking for 5 days is quite nice and we, especially Sharon and Jenny, felt great afterwards. We indulged in a cherry Icee at the general store and purchased ice to replenish our dwindling stock.
Though I was not able to contact KG6POU, a.k.a. Frank, via my Ham radio (I really need to work on a better mounting location), Dave was able to pick up a decent signal from the parking lot. Frank, Roger, Chris, and Cathy were at Hole in the Wall setting up camp, and we made our way to join them.
Hole in the Wall is definitely something else. After driving through a road in a wash, surrounded by blooming wildflowers, the geographic marvel appears as a gateway to a fantasy land, all that much more impressive dressed in the colors of the setting sun. Sharon was unimpressed, claiming it was more of a “gap” than a “hole”.
The themed dinner for the night was Italian fine dining. Complete with LED Christmas lights, tablecloths, and breadsticks as appetizers, the main course was pizza on hotdog buns. I used some Daiya to make mine, but Sharon skipped her portion. Frank told the tale of a desert mine cat and later in the night he and Dave disappeared. We soon heard giggling on top of a hill, followed by the sound of a vacuum cleaner. The latter was actually the noise from a blower inflating a giant cat with glowing eyes and mouth. We were all amused and from here on referred to the Halloween decoration as the vacuuming mine cat.
Nothing really planned for the day. After another Icee and dumping our trash at Furnace Creek, we decided to head to Nevada. Our first stop was the ghost town of Rhyolite. The crumbling structures gave me a hard time imagining the 10,000 individuals that once inhabited the area. The railway station was the most intact and an old railroad car sat out front. Naturally, we peeked inside, only later to discover the "Danger: Do not enter" sign posted on another door. We have yet to figure out what this dhang-errr word means?!?!
Walking around town we headed towards the Bottle House, which as the name suggest, was built out of old glass bottles. Though it's hard to believe that any miner would have the time to create an art installation, the town's multiple saloons surely provided ample building supplies. A miniature glass and mortar town decorated the yard.
Next, we headed down Titus Canyon Road to Leadfiled. This ghost town played its role in history as a scam. The Western Lead Mine Company’s false advertising, including images of steamboats crossing the typically dry Amargosa River 20 miles away, interested investors. Though the town grew to 300 residents and a post office opened, it was closed within a year.
As we headed into Titus Canyon the walls became steeper and the canyon became narrower. Out of the corner of her eye Jenny spotted bighorn sheep scaling the canyon walls; a feat which later earned her the nickname Eagle Eye. Only 500 of these magnificent creatures reside in the park and this group had 4 members; 2 adult females and 2 babies. We watched them for a long period of time until somewhat of a traffic jam formed behind our convoy. Moving on, not a half a mile further, Jenny spotted another larger group of at least 6 to 10 sheep. These were lower down and more sheepish. They ran before I had the chance to grab my camera and take pictures. The bighorn sheep were really one of the two major highlights of the trip for me; the second came later that night. Along with black bears, grizzlies, wolves, and mountain lions they are my North American Big 5.
We headed back to Hole in the Wall for another night. Too bad we packed up camp, but we did not know we would end up here again. As darkness fell and we were all winding down I went around the front of the car grabbing something out of the driver's side. RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE! Not 6 feet from me, I spotted the source. The snake started moving towards as I backed up getting everyone’s attention. Something had to be done. A snake in camp 10 feet from our tent was not a compromise we were willing to make.
I grabbed my boots and the shovel off the roof rack, and Dave went to grab his. We decided we would scoop the snake into a plastic bin and carry it out of camp. This proved to be a bit trickier in practice than in theory. Snakes don't like to stay on shovels and this one coiled under a rock. Moving the rock it retreated under another one. Finally we moved that rock too and Dave forced the snake with his shovel onto mine while I swept it into the bin. I knocked the bin right side up while Dave put the cover on. High five! The snake never struck and observing its behavior I think my irrational fear was much alleviated. I now see that envenomation is their last resort though I’m still surprised the snake initially moved towards me. We carried the reptile away while Cathy noted that there surely are many more snakes much closer than we were placing this one. Oh well, the relocation gave us peace of mind. As I tipped the bin away from us it recoiled in our direction. Pushing it away again the snake now slid out and coiled under a bush rattling again as if to wish a good night and warn us never to bother it again.
After the ordeal, Cathy continued the reading of “Holes”. Though it was a children’s or young adult novel, the story of a boy sent to a prison camp and forced to dig holes in the desert for a crime he did not commit was very amusing. It inspired us to assign each-other desert nicknames. After the rattlesnake incident I became known as Rattlesnake Bait or Mr. Bait for short. Sharon, with her uncanny ability to seek out the shade was Shady. Dave, always with his camera, was One Eye, and Jenny, for her supernatural ability to spot wildlife was Eagle Eye. Chris chose the name 2-gun. Big Jim flowed naturally while Ann became Margarita and Cathy took the name Lucky. Roger went by Bacon, a reference to his pig farming days and love of the food, or Scout for his exploratory nature. Finally, Frank became Sparky, given the sheer number of electronic devices in the Chevy.
As our trip was nearing an end, we had one last stop in Death Valley National Park. After breakfast we headed towards the Western border, through Panamint Valley, and over to Darwin Falls. Sharon and I had planned on hiking to the falls on our last trip here, but due to a dead car battery (I now have 2) we were unable to do so.
We parked our trucks at the trailhead, Dave and I taking advantage of the “4x4 parking area,” and headed up Darwin Wash. The scenery quickly changed from the expected arid desert to a trickling stream of water with cottonwoods filling the canyon. As we approached the vegetation, the terrain became rockier, while the vegetation became lusher. Moths the size of hummingbirds whirled overhead and we spotted some zebra-tailed lizards. These seemed to go airborne as the scampered over the rocky surface.
|Lower Darwin Falls|
As we exited the canyon the desert heat struck us. Such a difference. We pondered how some fortunate miner must at some point have wandered into the canyon and found this cool, watery haven, drinking to content and perhaps cooling off in the pool below the falls. I also noticed an engraving in one of the canyon walls. Native Americans? Miners? Perhaps nature? Given the symmetrical nature of the 3 sets of 3 lines the latter was rather unlikely.
We continued towards the “town” of Darwin. Spotting a mine in the hillside above, Frank decided to explore a loop road leading up to it. The sandy lower segment of the road gave his Chevy a challenge and stopped the Moose dead in its tracks. At a point, Frank and Roger were forced to stop and attempted some road construction, a feat they soon abandoned, and eventually opted to back down the road.
Dave and I decided to try the other leg of the loop. Weary of the endeavor Jenny and Sharon decided to stay back, but Cathy, hungry for more mine exploration, jumped into Dave’s truck. Together we made it up to the mine. This leg was much easier than the one Frank attempted. The shaft was maybe 80 feet deep with a much shorter side shaft about half way in. It was in this side shaft that I spotted two bats innocently sleeping, upside down of course, on the ceiling.
With everyone back in their vehicles we progressed towards Darwin. As the day was now winding down, we weren’t able to do much more than note that we should come back to this area one day to explore the many mine ruins and roads in the area. Driving through Darwin, we were surprised at the number of residents still residing here among the dozens of abandoned lodgings. The washboard roads here were so bumpy and we coined a new term to describe them. These were extremely “clean” roads. The more prone to rattling the bolts loose on a rig, the “cleaner” the washboard is.
As the sun hung low in the sky we pulled into Ridgecrest where we had bookings at American’s Best Value Inn. The motel was in excellent shape, likely due to the fact that it was new. So new that Google satellite images show it as a dirt lot. We took some time to condense our glass containers (there was still plenty of booze) into Frank’s truck and shower. Dave and I headed to the nearby Chevron to fill up on gas, a process which took longer than I would have hoped for. First the pump I pulled up to was malfunctioning, and the second was probably the slowest I had ever seen. We drove back to the motel and headed off to La Fiesta to meet everyone for dinner. As we approached, Jenny was waiting outside with an urgent look about her. The restaurant closed in 10 minutes so we barely had time to order. The food was decent, but not as amazing as one local woman made it out to be. The veggies in our burrito clearly came from a freezer bag and everything was a bit bland, though I highly recommend their pickled jalapenos!
On the way back, Sharon and I stopped at the Rite-Aid for some energy drinks for the morning and then stumbled upon a local radio station building, sharing the broadcast on outside speakers. We sat for a while and listened to the news. Something about North Korea that China didn’t approve; must have been really bad. The Republican Party reaffirmed its stance against same-sex marriage; what a surprise. The most disturbing news was that of law enforcement officials being gunned down around the country.
|Which way to Little Petroglyph Canyon?|
Back at the motel, I joined some of the others at Jim and Ann’s room for some margaritas and a fun conversation then headed off to bed. We had an early morning ahead of us. We rose at 4:30 and the only coffee place we could find was Starbucks. We settled, but luckily the sugary beverages covered up the taste of their roast. Everyone met in the parking lot at 6:00 am, probably aided in waking by me accidentally setting off Ellie’s car alarm an hour earlier. We drove to the parking lot of the town’s movie theater to meet our docents for our last adventure. Individuals from Friends of Last Chance Canyon were meeting us to escort us through the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center on a tour of the Native American petroglyphs.
As they arrived Sharon and I couldn’t help to notice the “Obama is what happens when welfare recipients and illegals get the right to vote,” “we speak English and wear deodorant here,” bumper stickers as well as a Confederate flag with the word “redneck” written across it. Given that both my parents and Sharon’s mother were immigrants who struggled to learn the language (some better than others) and eventually gained their right to vote, we were quite offended. Had it been just the two of us we would likely have just driven away. I highly recommend that you do take the tour, but if you do so arrange it through the Maturango Museum (read on for more reasons). I think all of us were also a bit upset that while we arranged for a private tour, the docents brought other guests with them.
As it was, we formed in line with the other trucks and drove to the base entrance across the street. Here we subjected our vehicles to military police inspection. This is why we had to remove glass containers the previous night. The inspection went off without a hitch and after an hour of driving through the base we hiked down into Little Petroglyph Canyon (a.k.a. Renegade Canyon if we can trust what the lead docent told us). We soon learned not to ask any questions as the docents seemed to make up answers on the fly. They were reluctant to tell us the age of the carvings or of the rocks (fundamentalists?), the latter of which geologist Dave clarified to be 15 to 30 million years old. They made outrageous claims about current geological activity in the area and authoritatively explained the meanings of the petroglyphs. That was on top of the 15 minutes of BLM bashing while USGS geologist Dave was sitting nearby and the cracks about software developers (a good portion of us). I guess they did admit that Frank, the Linux developer, "can't be all that bad, he's wearing a Tilley hat." The only one of the docents we liked was Gary, who shared the knowledge he had, and when posed with questions he did not know the answers to, told us so and recommended visiting the museum and purchasing some reading materials.
The artwork was amazing. Bighorn sheep, atlatls, shamans, and various geographic shapes. We even found numbers, dates, initials, “E=mc2”, and a car. The latter likely made by cattle ranchers or more recent visitors to the canyon. Though these were a form of vandalism we appreciated that at least it wasn’t crude phallus illustrations.
The short hike, or should I call it a saunter, through the canyon took hours because we stopped every few feet to gaze at yet more petroglyphs (and in one case a pictograph) taking hundreds of pictures. The more one looked at any wall, the more carvings appeared. We were amazed at all we saw and I really can’t wait to read up on the subject.
Leaving the base, we regrouped back at the parking lot. I firmly shook Gary’s hand and thanked him for the trip, glad the other docents didn’t come back with us. To escape the hot weather we headed down CA0-178 towards the Sequoia National Forest. We first explored some dirt roads, but these were bordered exclusively by private property. Stopping near one gate to decide which way to proceed we noticed a barefoot, bearded man running towards our convoy. The friendly local offered to allow us to camp on his 10 acres of property. We thanked him but decided to head higher up into the Sierra Nevada along Chimney Peak Road. Exploring a few possible spots along the way we decided to “luxury” camp at an official USFS campsite.
Luxury here meant an outhouse and picnic tables, both of which we fully utilized. The campground was completely empty, as were the two others nearby. I wondered why so much space, but I guess back in the day when the scenic byway leading through this area was actually paved, more visitors likely stayed here.
Dinner consisted of leftover appetizers but filled our bellies and we were happy to get rid of some improperly stored, week old food. Cathy continued her reading of “Holes” and we did our best to drink what remained of our alcohol. We all had a jolly old time knowing that our vacation would be over very soon.
The drive home was uneventful for the most part. It wasn’t until we were heading up Pacheco Pass that tragedy struck. The gusty winds finally had their way with Faustie, our flamingo hood ornament. Faustie took flight, the plastic tearing at the base. I distinctly remember the sound of the tear, followed by a clink against Ellie’s roof rack, and then an outburst of laughter. It took a while to calm down and we slowed down a bit so that the others in the convoy could inspect the two dangling wire legs with what remained of the pink body attached with gaffers tape. Only a couple miles further the winds were calmer and he likely would have made it home. Instead one day a roadside cleanup crew will wonder what a pink plastic flamingo is doing there. Then again, I’m sure they find much stranger items.
Since moving to California, Sharon and I had probably spent about 2 months in and around Death Valley. Though this may seem like a long period of time to the casual visitor, I feel we have seen only a tiny fraction of what the park has to offer. This is not to even mention the rest of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. I can’t wait for future expeditions and especially the 18th annual desert trip. Dave and Frank do one hell of a job planning these things and the company is always unbeatable.
* Epsom Salt Works map at everytrail.com
* Death Valley Railroad map at everytrail.com
* Darwin Falls map at everytrail.com
* Little Petroglyph Canyon map at everytrail.com
* Death Valley Railroad map at everytrail.com
* Darwin Falls map at everytrail.com
* Little Petroglyph Canyon map at everytrail.com