Saturday, February 11, 2017

Leaving Las Vegas

Sheryl Crow: Leaving Las Vegas

Subtitle: Destination Death Valley

We have driven Death Valley before but not in a large Motorhome and not in the winter.

At this time of year just out of Vegas it was under 10 degrees C warming up as the day progressed.

And in January it's even more deserted than when we previously drove here in the summer

Amargosa Opera House

Driving our rented Motorhome up an American Mountain pass is easy, the roads are wide,  there was zero traffic, and most of the time dry.   But descending, that is another matter.  Descending not so much fun!

Like good tourists we bought an Entrance Pass

Destination Death Valley and Badwater

Going down, still quite easy driving as there are no sheer drops on the side of the road!

Zabriskie Point

There is a park and 200 metre walk to a viewing point for unfit tourists at Zabriskie point.

There is also a Golden Canyon trail but we don't have time for a big trail today.

One year in the future we'd be delighted to be fit enough and to be allowed  (via invitation) to run the Badwater Ultra.   At any rate this year we are doing a reconnaissance of the course.   By motorhome and not foot!

Here is a 22 minute Youtube on Badwater.  There are several longer videos

We took an extended walk over the Salt Flats and a small selection of the photographs we took is shown above.

The Town of Badwater
At this point we were sans Internet so we left the Basin and continued driving to find the town of Badwater.

Some while later:  There is no town of Badwater.  Eventually it became clear that the Ultra-marathon starts here and I'm guessing runners must spend the night before in a neighbouring town, Furnace Creek, the one about 20 miles away that we will try for tonight.   Hmm

Golden Canyon Trail
With sunlight fading we just had time to start the Golden Canyon trail.   We planned to do a 10Km or so loop.

We were not too worried as the sun began to set.  We had our normal gear.  Including:  GPS watches  (trackback possible in emergency),   GPS offline maps loaded on Smartphones ,   Headtorches, Food, Water, extra clothes.

As darkness fell we saw one other group and thought nothing of it.  Using our Petzl Nao headtorches  with 100 metre plus lighting range we could easily navigate the trail.  But as we were finishing it appeared a concerned 'rescue Jeep' mistook us for the other [group presumably] , and when they realised their error they sped off.  Hmm.

Sunset Campground

We arrived to the Sunset Campground late.  Just time for a healthy bean meal  (as is becoming our usual dinner diet), and then time for bed.

Forward: Cruising Death Valley