2021 Death Valley Trip

Sunday, March 28

Today, the heat settled into Death Valley. Four nights hiking into the sand dunes took its toll, and I was ready for an easy day. We had a relaxed omelet breakfast and tried to stay cool through the afternoon. And then, we ran out of water. We wanted to drain our fresh water tank so we could treat the water in Lone Pine where we could easily drain and re-fill the tank. But we hoped we could stretch our water here so we wouldn't have to refill here. No such luck. We waited long enough for the "weekenders" to leave and then drove over to the dump station. Ironically, there was a dump station about 50 feet from our campsite, but it was closed. It was a little inconvenient to have to close everything up to get water, but it's great having all the water we want now. We can splurge the rest of the time we're here.

We returned to Zabriskie Point to shoot sunset. My goal was to get a good time-lapse video of the changing light on the clay formations beside the overlook. I tried to do an impromptu time lapse when we were here earlier in the week, but I was in a hurry to get enough images to make a reasonable video. I made every mistake possible at setting up the time lapse, so it was a total failure. Hopefully, today went better.

One of the advantages of doing a time lapse was that there isn't much to do once everything is set up. Carol used her time offering to take group photos when families were having trouble with their selfies. It was fun watching the family dynamics in the group photos. It also gave us time to talk to the other people around us. We talked to a young lady in her mid-twenties from Chicago who was traveling alone. She plans a couple of trips each year and sends out the itinerary to her friends and asks if they want to join her. She had no takers for this trip, so she came out alone. Yesterday morning, she hiked 14 miles to the top of Telescope Peak, which is just over 11,000 feet. I don't know how high the trailhead is, but that's a huge change in altitude over a few hours time. She was back below sea level to watch sunset. Other than doing stretching exercises while she waited, you would never have known she'd done any hiking. Fourteen miles is a long day hike; even without the elevation gain. I don't think I've ever done anything that extreme--even in my twenties. We compared notes on trips and made some suggestions for future trips. I admire her for getting out to see the country; even when she had to do it alone

We stayed around to watch moonrise, but the moon was too bright to use in the surrounding dark landscape. It was gorgeous, but not photogenic.

It was cool enough when we returned to camp to grill shrimp patties and enjoy eating out under the stars. Tonight was a good night to be retired and camping.