Paul has had an intimate experience with Death Valley in the past cycling 200 miles in the desert for fun. This would be my first trip to the place he spoke so fondly of and I was a bit nervous that it would not hold up to all the admiration.
We arrived at Furnace Creek on a windy Tuesday and I actually sat outside the van reading for the first time in a long while. The stars looked amazing but the wind decided to pick up and shook the van all night long.
The next day we decided to run Dante’s View towards Mt. Perry. It was a bit chilly but the scenery was spectacular. 5400′ above the Badwater basin and an incredible single track (sometimes precarious) trail out and back.
By Thursday the wind had died down and we rode our bikes to Badwater Basin. On the way back we took the long way on Artist’s Drive to view the colorful patterns in the rocks. Artist’s Palette was really a treat and I was so perplexed that there was blue, purple and pink in the rocks. When we arrived back at the van we could have dinner outside, so lovely.
Paul enjoyed some more cycling while I explored Mosaic Canyon. Hot run up to canyon but worth seeing the rocks mosaiced into the canyon walls. Stovepipe Wells camping area had a pool and shower we could use that was handy. We both also ran all of the Fall Canyon trail and part of Titus Canyon road that was closed to vehicles because of flooding.
Paul wanted to cycle the one exit from Death Valley he hasn’t completed. He rode from Stovepipe Wells to Panamint Springs. I was a bit worried after driving ahead in the van and kept looking through binoculars to see if he was coming. It was definitely challenging but he had an enjoyable (possibly epic) ride.
Tuttle Creek outside of Lone Pine was our next camping experience. It couldn’t have knocked our socks off any more than it did. Wow! You are on the base of the Whitney Portal and have views of Owen’s lake ( a dry salt lake) in the basin. The next morning I ran part of the famous Movie Road in Alabama Hills. Over 400 movies were filmed in this area including Gunga Din, Rawhide, Gladiator, Django Unchained, Ironman, Tremors and many more.
Springtime in Death Valley is certainly a treat and well worth visiting and exploring.