Thursday, December 31, 2009

Death Valley - December 2009

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Lady Ski3pin & I left here early Dec 26th in a small snow storm, made it over to the east side, breakfast at the Hays Street Cafe in Bridgeport, winter mountain driving conditions until we got to the Mammoth turnoff on 395, and a stop in Bishop to check out the Lady's favorite thrift stores and the shoe sale at Wilson's. The Big Pine Road to Eureka Dunes was fairly clear over the Inyos with a few long patches of packed snow and ice in the shady spots. We had our spot picked out at Eureka Dunes at 2:00 pm, set up camp, donned the packs and just hiked, watching the light change and the world get dark. This was our home base for two days.

The dunes are an amazing place. We climbed, hiked, explored, but many times just sat and looked at all that was around us.

There were three fly bys by pairs of hornets, all coming in from the south at ground level. We were just coming off the top of the south high point heading south when the third pair was coming through. I was concentrating on getting a panning shot of the plane below us when Lady Ski3pin said, "Watch out!" His partner was coming right up the spine of the dunes less than a hundred feet above us. We hit the deck as I pointed the DSLR skyward and fired off several frames. Didn't get the shot. The Lady's only comment was. "That was really loud."

You've got to love the signs.

The next night we stayed at Homestake Dry Camp south of the Racetrack Playa. Our evening hike was up above the camp where we could look down into Saline Valley. We watched as one vehicle drove down Lippincott.

The next morning was overcast and then gradually cleared as we circled and crossed the playa. What an amazing place. The early part of the morning we had the playa to ourselves.

We spent our fourth and last night in the north end of Panamint Valley. The next morning, New Years Eve, we enjoyed the last sunrise of 2009. This was our second voyage with our camper and it is really feeling like home.

The Lady said, "We're earning our BS degree in pop up camper living!"

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