This year we continued one of our traditions by spending Thanksgiving week in Death Valley National Park with family and friends. This was the 13th Thanksgiving we have spent there since 1998. This year there were 21 people, but some years we were close to 50! Death Valley may be one of the hottest places on earth (in the summer) but by late October/ November the weather is pretty nice for visiting and hiking! The daytime temperature average while we were there was about 65f while nights got down to 40f – just about right if you want to have a campfire! The campground that we stayed in was Furnace Creek ($18 per night) We did have phone service while we were in the area, and I was planning on blogging while camping, but I had no data connection on my T Mobile phone. I do have to mention that both Verizon and AT&T did have a data connection. (There were more fun things to do there than surf the internet… right?)
We took two off road trips this year. The first trip was in my Brother’s Jeep to an area that I had never visited all these years – Echo Canyon. The trailhead was just a few miles away from Furnace Creek the road then headed east into the Funeral Mountains.
I believe this rock formation is called “Eye of the Needle”
The road is in a narrow canyon that winds through the mountains for a few miles and then heads through some wider valleys. We were hoping to find an old mining camp to look around in when we came to a fork in the road. Do we now go to the left toward “Amargosa” or keep to the right and head to the “Inyo mine”? We turned left, which led into another canyon and found some old mines and some old mining shacks that were mostly all laying on the ground. (The funny thing is, if I would have had an internet connection – I would have found that if we had stayed to the right we would have run into Inyo mine, which has most of it’s buildings still standing! Oh well, next time.)
This little cabin was dug into the side of the hill so it would help regulate the temperature. It’s hard to see, but there still a stovepipe sticking out of the dirt where the roof collapsed. My guess is that it is still attached to a wood stove.
Way back in those hills, we saw a lot of rocks that had blue or green streaks in them which I would assume was copper.
We followed a remote trail to the top of a mountain nearby. We found a lot more copper bearing rocks and at the very top we found this benchmark from the Department of the Interior!
The second trip is one of my favorites. Titus Canyon. This trip consists of taking route 374 East 4 miles or so past the Nevada state line. The entrance to the road is marked on the left. The road is 26 miles long with the last 10 being in the canyon itself. Although I have met some triathletes who attempted to ride the 26 miles- It’s better to stow the mountain bikes in a truck bed and just ride the canyon portion!
Vehicles. The road is listed as 4wd or high clearance vehicle. I drive a 2wd Chevy crew cab with normal clearance and have no problems when I go. It is important to have some clearance because of rocks in the road, but on this last trip I even saw a small Toyota sedan make it through. But, don’t take chances!
We ran into a dusting of snow at the start of our trip. I hadn’t counted on that, but it wasn’t an issue at all!
This rock formation has always reminded me of a skull… I guess it is Death Valley!
You can see Red Pass across the valley…that’s where we are going!
The ghost town of Leadfield is right at the start of the bike riding portion of Titus Canyon. It’s a great place to stop for a quick lunch and do a bit of exploring. There are a handful of cabins and mines around the valley and probably quite a few more than I’m aware of!
The ghost town of Leadfield was a boomtown that founded on wild and distorted advertising. 300 hopeful people swarmed there. A post office was established in August 1926 and in February 1927 the post office closed and the town died.
Time to pull out the bikes and ride the last 10 miles!
The second picture here was actually taken in 2010… My son Zack is now taller than I am! By the way, I know I am wearing denim on denim… It was pretty cold riding that day!!
Halfway through the canyon there is a natural spring that is another good place to take a break and look around. There are some rocks nearby that have some petroglyphs on them. Unfortunately there are also some more recent additions to the artwork too…
All the rock formations in this canyon are amazing and riding a bike though it is even better! Definitely one of my favorite things to do when we’re visiting Death Valley.
End of the Road! Time to go back to the camp for a beer and BBQ!