|03-27-2012 05:44 PM|
Well that was one of the most humorous trip reports I've ever read! Sounds like a fun time to me!
Thanks for the report Dave....we gotta' wheel together sometime man.
|03-23-2012 02:50 PM|
Pupfish, sorry but no fishing allowed.
|03-23-2012 02:47 PM|
As most Californians know Mr. Howser has been there done that in California. Welp, I am here to tell you and we endure a lot of Huell, as far as we know he has not been there done this, as we have yet to see him cover anything that we adventure to during this trip. The day is 17March2012 and most of you were most likely wearing some form of green and celebrating the luck o’ the Irish. Well good for you and hopefully your March 18th was not full of hangover headaches and cookie tossings.
Death Valley-As not seen by Huell Howser
This DaK adventure was no different than any in the past; the start was at the crack of dawn while the Earth, at least on the West coast, was still at “peace”. Most “normal” people are not even stirring at these insane hours even on weekdays, let alone on a Saturday morning. My wife and I are up, the Jeep is packed and ready to go, next stop, Ridgecrest Naval Air Station to top off before heading into the Panamint Valley. For those that have ventured out this way or will dare do so in the future be advised that at the time of this writing there is zero, zilch, nada, no gas in Trona. Next stop, Ballarat.
We get to Ballarat in our typical fashion of way too early but there are things to see and do in this hidden treasure of a ghost town. No matter how many times you are there, something new catches your eye. Allegedly Manson’s truck is right there for all to pose in front of. Probably a piece of Americana History that everyone would care to forget but there it is. Next is the Jail that if empty is a hotel. For those that don’t know my lovely bride is a very curious person and she just cannot leave anything alone. Things must be touched, knobs turned, switches flipped and so on down the line. There was this one time at the Hearse Castle…will tell that story another time. Today while I was airing down the tires my curious bride decided she wanted to investigate the Jail/hotel this fine morning. To her surprise, the Jail was now being utilized by some patrons as a hotel. Oh yeah there was couple of people in there just snoring away. Yeah, only mine. J Soon, the other couple we were meeting arrived and we do the meet and greet, check out each other’s rigs like dogs sniffing each other’s butts. Don’t turn your noses up at this, you do it, he does it, we all do it, we can’t help ourselves.
After airing down and while discussing the plan for the day about 9 Jeeps and a couple of other vehicles come ripping through Ballarat and leave us in their dust. Hopefully they will be gone by the time we get to Manson’s last stand. That turned out to not be the case but, more on that later. We mount up and head out. The ride to Coyote Canyon is non-eventful in anyway shape or form. We didn’t even get to see the burros on this trip. We believe this to be due to the storm moving in and they were somewhere they considered themselves to be safe. On occasion we would see a dust cloud ahead due to the crew that blew through Ballarat earlier.
Up Coyote Canyon we go and we come to the waterfall. Today there is actually water flowing in it and should make things interesting. The crew that was ahead of us was there and stalled at the waterfall. As we pull and park while one individual is having a difficult time breaching the fall but eventually makes it over. As I encroach upon the fall I notice one individual stacking rocks and I go, “Are you driving Jeeps or FJ’s? Get those rocks out of there.” The young man promptly removes the rocks. A few of the rigs had to make several approaches but they all get over the waterfall. We also got two dirtbikers over the falls as well during this time. Next it is our turn to take on the falls and I notice the group ahead getting ready to mount up and I tell their lead, “It would be awful considerate of you to wait till at least one of us made it up here before bailing on us.” They way till I get up and over the falls, then they bail almost immediately and we never see them again. Our trail buddy comes up to falls and goes right over them like they are not even there. Hey, 37’s and a 4 inch lift will do that.
We get up to Manson’s hideout and walk around. It was great being with these people has they had been coming to this section of DV for yrs. They had extensive knowledge on the area on things to see, places to visit and other such stuff. After a brief visit at the hideout we were off to Mengal Pass. The pass proved to be no problem, even though weather was moving in on us. Once through the pass we were shown the way to some nice cabins and this is where we had lunch. We endured a view of striped butte over lunch. I know, we suffered and took the hit for the team on this one. What can I say? It is what we do. After lunch we traveled down to the springs where our trail partners departed more information on things to do and see in that area. A return trip is a must with more time on the schedule to explore the area.
We bombed our way down to the valley floor after the spring visit only to be greeted with the typical desert wind of sustained 30 mph wind with gusts to at least 50 mph. Our trip buddies had never been to some of the sites the southern part of the valley has to offer so we took them to see some of them after airing up. Oh airing up was treat. While airing up, the wind howled relentlessly and here is where it really began to rain. Chuck, driver of the second vehicle had CO2 for airing up. Oh man, that was nice. Once done airing up, the wind abated to 30 mph and of course the rain stopped.
Next few stops consisted of Bad Water Basin, a place where you can see a cinder cone split in half and each slipping away from another because of a fault line, and Artist Palette. Lowest point in the contiguous United States is Bad Water Basin where the wind continued to pelt us. We walked a bit on the salt flat but not too far as I wanted to ensure we got to Artist Palette before the sun set. Upon arrival to the palette the wind decided it was going to amp up bit before the sun set. We walked up on to the hill to look down into the valley where the hills are the color of cotton candy or rainbow sherbet only to be blasted with the wind. It was here you could actually rock back on your heels into the wind and not worry about falling, that is, until the wind stopped. We next went over to the Artist View and here the wind was a little more quiet and this is what we were greeted with. As can be seen here the sun was playing hide and seek and only lit part of the valley, still a nice shot.
Since the wind was howling we decided to head to the hotel and call it a night.
The next day was to see some sites on the way out of the valley. Kelly has always wanted to see the Pup fish that live in Salt Creek. So this time we did. We were pleasantly surprised to see there is a board walk for visitors to stroll and observe the Pupfish in their natural habitat. These things are a little over an inch long and have stripes on them. They thrive in an extremely salty environment. Apparently there are several different species of these fish and they thrive throughout Death Valley and other regions. Basically what happen was they weren’t smart enough or fast enough to leave the valley while the water was leaking out or whatever it did to become a dry lake bed.
Next stop was on the eastern side at Skidoo. I have heard rumors that this place was basically non-existent but somethings you have to see for yourself. Welp, there was nothing there, at least where the town stood at one time. Now, it would be a killer place to camp. Out and away from everything and everyone and it appeared there were plenty of mines to explore as well. Viewing the stars at night here must be spectacular. Since that was a bust, we went to Aguereberry Point. Interesting fact is that this man had nothing else to do but build this road. After this the decision was made to just head out of the valley as we both had long drives ahead of us.
Overall it was a great trip with a very nice couple that we probably would have never met had it not been for the forums. Chuck and Joni, thanks for joining us and sharing your knowledge of Butte Valley with us.
Ask me again for a trip report, I dare ya. You know what, I am skipping protocol here, TRIPLE DAWG DARE YOU....
|03-19-2012 07:51 AM|
Pleasure was all ours we had a great time with you and yours.
Will post up a trip report soon... For those that want to know, that is Auguberry Point, 6,044' and looks over into DV and you can see from past Bad Water Basin to way beyond Furnance creek and the skies were clear enough that you could also see into NV past Hell's Gate.
|03-18-2012 11:18 PM|
Thanks DaK for the great trip. Hope you all made it home safe.
|03-15-2012 07:33 AM|
Run is still on for us...
Weather-changing daily-anything from no rain to 70% chance of rain on either day. Furnance Creek is already in the 80's during the day. On Saturday it is supposed to be blustery but nothing us High Desert rats can't handle. Sunday should be better for the winds, which is good because Augeberry Point could be a hassle, first step is a doozie. We won't have to worry about wild flower lookie loo's as there are no flowers to lookie loo.
After gas up in Ridgecrest we will be monitoring CB channel 5. I like to keep the squelch up so I don't hear the trucker chatter which shouldn't be a problem at this hr and location but... still don't like listening to it.
Only have one other confirmed so if you are coming please be prompt as once we are aired down, we will be rolling towards Coyote Canyon. We meet at the Jail House in Ballarat, ya can't miss it, one of three structures still standing in the "town".
|03-10-2012 08:06 PM|
|03-10-2012 11:15 AM|
Just finished my new gas can mount last night. Gunna do a shake down run today up Sperry Wash for a date shake at China Ranch to see if it falls off.
|03-07-2012 07:37 AM|
Thank you for posting, means we won't be able to do the loop next month we will be stuck with up and back on Pleasant Canyon, which still isn't a bad run.
This however does NOT affect the run on the 17&18th.
We will be going in through Coyote Canyon and connecting to Butte Valley Rd, down to West Side Rd, from there depends on what people want to do, stay dirt, or hit the pavement.
Thanks again for the heads up and confirmation hopefully ACE gets this fixed ASAP. Maybe we should call in the SeaBees from Port Hueneme? That way we know it will get done.
|03-07-2012 12:34 AM|
Here is some info on the closure^^^
CLOSURE-South Park Canyon Bridge... - Pirate4x4.Com
|03-07-2012 12:16 AM|
Just a heads up. You need to check with the BLM, last I heard Chicken Rock and the Bridge above Brigg's Cabins was CLOSED to jeeps. Some Noob in a Cherokee went over the edge last summer, so the BLM closed the bridge to jeeps until it could be widened.
Last I heard the local Army Corp of Engieers volunteered to do the work, but they needed supplies.
|03-06-2012 07:43 AM|
Better half has stated we will be stopping to see the Pup fish on the way out of the park. Salt Creek is on the way out...ahhh more dirt.
Pupfish- Death Valley pupfish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hope the buggers are still there, been a heck of time getting rain this yr.
|03-05-2012 07:45 AM|
|DaK||Bumpin so we can generate some more interest.|
|02-27-2012 12:22 AM|
|ChuckMRN||I met a bunch of guys at Briggs back in the late 90's that said they were some of the ones that built the bridge. Think they worked for a phone company, thus the poles it is made from. They dared me to cross it in my full size Bronco and do the corner.. My brother got out and walked. We did an up and back for my ego and a cold beverage. Did it in a Tacoma too, my wife still won't ride the corner or bridge.|
|02-26-2012 07:18 PM|
I would go but I don't feel comfortable around all those red Jeeps
Dave, I'll be running Mojave the week before so keep me posted on your Pleasant Canyon to South Park trip and hopefully I can make that one. My dad was one of the Pioneers in the late 80s, early 90s to bring Briggs back to life so that's a special run for me.
|02-26-2012 11:39 AM|
Like the color of your rig...
The "Faster" of the colors...
|02-25-2012 10:29 PM|
|ChuckMRN||Joni & I are up for this. We will check for a room at the ranch too.|
|02-25-2012 03:07 PM|
Death Valley Weekend Trip 17 & 18 MAR
Plans at this time are to head up through coyote canyon, over Mengal Pass (will call before we go to ensure pass is open), through striped butte valley, warm Springs mine (lots to see here and normally a mud hole to play in), then down to the valley floor. If n00bs to Death Valley come we will go onto the East Road and see the sights, if no n00bs, then we will head up the west road or do what the masses want. We should arrive in time at Artist palette to see the sunset... oh what a great place to watch the sunset. Besides the boss mandates a visit there everytime we go, yes dear.
Sites on the run:
Killer mine and over look into the panamint valley.
Barker Ranch- Manson's last stand
possible future camp sites
Warm Spring Mine
If there is snow and we can't get through Mengal for some reason, oh man... plenty more to see and I will have my mitchell and wells books with us, so there are trails to hike and valleys to explore.
Kelly and I won't be leaving the park that night. Will be staying at the Furnance Creek Ranch. If you desire to stay there make your reservations ASAP, place fills up fast. There is camping across the street from the ranch. The next day we will be visiting the museum, and the below listed points of interest on our way out of the valley.
Skidoo Mine- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skidoo,_California
These are just suggested places, if a more seasoned valley verteran is with us and wants to add to it, we are game.
If the snow level allows, on up to the beginning of the telescope pk path. Not hiking the path but if you are so inclined it is a 6 mile round trip, starts at 9.5k ft and ends up around 11.5 kft. And ummm, we ain't waiting for ya. From the beginning of the path you can see a great breadth of the southern portion of Death valley including the lowest point in the contiguous U.S.
Bring food and have something to carry extra gas and of course plenty of water. Last gas is Ridgecrest, next gas furnance creek. Last time through it took us 3/4's of a tank to get from Ridgecrest to Furnance Creek. OH and if you think gas is expensive here, HAHAHAHAHAHAA...
If you are stock height I would NOT recommend going through Mengal pass without rocker armor. We have been through it stock in our JK Rubicon, no issues but you never know what the conditions are going to be.
If anyone is interested we will meet at Ballarat. Normally get there around 0900 and air down.