Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Death Valley

We moved on from Lone Pine and the highest point in lower 48 states to the lowest point in Death Valley.  Entering from the west is not recommended for motorhomes.  Why?  People warned us of 2 descents which could burn out brakes.  Hmm...drive around 150 miles or try a 6-7% descent which we have done several times.  The nice thing about our rig is the motor is Ford V10 with "tow-Haul" option so we just put it in tow haul and let the lower gears slow us down.  Since the transmission was made for this, we felt comfortable that we could do it.  The first descent was about 7 miles of mostly 6% grade.  whew.  but it brought us down to Panamint springs where we spent the night and next morning hiked up a really beautiful canyon to Darwin falls where we watched a coot feed in the pool beneath the falls.

Darwin Falls

Water appears several ways in Death Valley.  The obvious way is rainfall collecting in gulleys, washing down to lower places like Bad Water in south end.  Another way is natural springs coming up out of floor like near Furnace creek.  or shallow wells such as Stovepipe Wells. Another way is where the springs come out of the canyon walls like Darwin falls.  In fact the water for Panamint springs resort comes from this source and our hike followed the pipe line all the way up to just below the falls.

Back on the road again the next day we departed Panamint springs campground across a high mountain pass, this time Sraddha drove ahead with the jeep to find us a campsite while I moseyed up over the high mountain pass and descended 14 miles down 6-8 percent grades to sea level at Stovepipe Wells where we stayed for 5 nights.  The campground nothing to look at, mostly like a parking lot but the views were expansive and not many people there. Contrast to Furnace Creek where the campground was full yet quite nice by the visitor center but the other two campgrounds were packed close together with people.  Stovepipe was also near the Mesquite dunes (next post) where we would go out in the early morning hours to watch the sun rise.  We had to drive more but it was worth it to have a quieter evening.

Heading into Stove Pipe Wells
Our campsite at Stovepipe Wells. 

Stove Pipe Wells campground was just like a gravel parking lot.  Dry camping with no hookups but flush toilets nearby and a dump station.  Price was right too at $6 per night.

We drove down south to Devil's Golf Course.  Don't think my freinds would like to tee it up here.  Interesting area where the salt formations would freeze and expand into incredible shapes.

The tips of the formations were like little sharp teeth.  Not a very appealing place to hangout.  I wondered how the mule teams traversed this area back in the old days.

Devil's Golf Course


-Blessings from the Road

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