Death Valley 2020

11:33 a.m. on March 2, 2020 (EST)
ppine
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4,133 forum posts

Jets

Wild donkeys walking past my sleeping bag at 0400

Hanging out with folks in Ballarat and drinking beer before noon

Waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the Galaxy

Sunrise on the Panamints and Amargosa Ranges

BBQ at the joint in Tecopa

Two days straight of the Grateful Dead

Day hiking along a creek at an undisclosed location

We finally made it to Saline Valley.  It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get there from the main highway from Lone Pine.  There was ice on the road which goes up to 6,000 feet in pinon/juniper.  The descent through Grapevine Canyon goes out on a huge rocky bajada that goes for 10 miles.  Not a drop of water for 60 miles.   It is a barren and lonely place and one of the only wilderness areas around that can be driven with a vehicle.  We attempted to cross the Saline Range over to the Racetrack.  Two sets of maps showed the road to be similar to roads we had traveled on with no cautions.  About 7 miles in the road became impassable to normal 4wd vehicles and we had to back down until we could fine a place to turn around.   I will be talking with the Park Superintendent about "the Endicott Road."  Someone could get killed on roads like that.  It would be easy to take out the oil pan or a differential in the rocks and have to walk out.  The NPS needs some signs on really dangerous roads to warn people.   I will probably not return to Saline Valley. 

3:38 p.m. on March 2, 2020 (EST)
Patman
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cool!

4:08 p.m. on March 2, 2020 (EST)
ppine
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4,133 forum posts

You would dig it Patman. 

The Great Wide Open. 

You can see 100 miles and there are no lights at night.  

2:07 p.m. on March 3, 2020 (EST)
ghostdog
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Death Valley has the most massive alluvial fans I’ve ever seen. Totally amazing. Driving over the rim and seeing Death Valley for the first time was something akin to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, both different but similar in the scope of scale and how we perceive them compared to anything and everything we have ever seen. 

From the lowest place down in the salt, we could see the extremely rugged broken rocks rise steeply to snow covered peaks. High, massive sand dunes, layered and very colorful sediments and stupendous sunsets. You really have to be there to understand…

3:02 p.m. on March 3, 2020 (EST)
balzaccom
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Yep.  Lots to explore.  And if you want to understand those alluvial fans, you should hike one up into it's exit canyon...

4:54 p.m. on March 3, 2020 (EST)
ppine
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4,133 forum posts

The geology in DV is like an open book.  It is all about rocks, and the surprising concept that all those alluvial fans were created by infrequent intense rain storms in one of the driest places on the Continent.  DV has huge coalescing alluvial fans known in geomorphology as bajadas.  The bajada coming out of Grapevine Cyn going into Saline Valley is 10 miles deep.  The volume is something like 50 cubic miles of coarse unsorted alluvium. 

I like Ghostdog's declaration that you have to go there "to understand."  The scale of everything is beyond massive.  We camped on the bajadas on both slopes of the Panamint Range.  Some of the canyon hikes are interesting and some go nowhere.  My mind is still out there.  Re-entry takes about a week. 

2:27 p.m. on March 4, 2020 (EST)
ghostdog
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We have camped on one of the fans. It was palpably massive and deep. The juxtaposition of the hot lower valley and snow flurries when we breached a pass was amazing. 

I don’t know if any of you have heard of the Death Valley Germans but the interesting tale kind of shines a light on the massive expanse of the place.

https://www.otherhand.org/home-page/search-and-rescue/the-hunt-for-the-death-valley-germans/ 

9:26 a.m. on March 5, 2020 (EST)
balzaccom
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748 forum posts

Yep--that is an amazing story.  The same searcher has other projects and searches....

11:07 a.m. on March 16, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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4,133 forum posts

I cannot stop thinking about DV.  Now I am looking at Jeeps.  Probably a TJ, 1997-2005.

June 7, 2020
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