March 2018 trip

Been on a recent trip? Here is the place to share it.
Post Reply
User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2003
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

March 2018 trip

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:28 pm

We got to the Valley the first week of March, narrowly escaping a bad winter storm on the east coast. We stayed at Furnace Creek Ranch (now the Oasis) for the first time ever. The room was nicer than what we usually get at SPW, though it cost significantly more, and, beware, they charge a totally gratuitous $12/day "resort fee" that you're not told about when you reserve over the phone. Everything worked out smoothly and the room was pretty quiet with a nice little patio, but I prefer the darker skies and quieter ambience of SPW. Well next year.

First day was a compromise given our group's composition and we ended up near Bradbury Well going up what Bob Burd calls Longbench Ridge.
Image
We spread out after a slow start and I got furthest along the ridge but not to the high point with the best view you can see at the end in the pic above. Sort of a warmup day.

Temps were forecast to warm up too, so the next day we went to the "Smoketree Slots" as described by Steve Hall. This involves an approach which traverses the width of the valley. There were some pools in the Amargosa and I got the best view I've ever had of a kit fox. We also found the first of what turned out to be many on this trip of Shaggy Mane mushrooms. These are all last year's shrooms; when fresh they are white and well, shaggy. When old, the spores are in dark powder inside this hardened cap.
Image

Note that navigating to the actual slot is pretty hard as there is little vertical relief to see in the topos as the slots are in old hardened alluvium. Steve's description of the approach is a little weak and confusing and I don't like to navigate from sat images, but fortunately my phone got signal (from Baker) at the height of our confusion and I was able to snag the sat image on the GPS app and then with the "you are here" dot we were OK (the app cannot cache sat images per Google licensing). We found the "first side slot" to be awesome and although not as enthusiastic as Steve's eloquent prose, we did enjoy hiking in the three slots.
Image

The next day found us in the Greenwater Valley and over Deadman's Pass to Brown Mountain, a peak climbed probably only because it is on the DPS list. It's a good peak though, with some interesting quartz geode formations, and nice views into the Amargosa Valley from the peak. Little traveled I would say. It was a grey day but sunset gave a nice view of the peak.
Image

That sunset view is on the way out. We were a bit slow due to getting off route and having to find one ourselves, and got back to the car with the very last light (nice to have a waypoint there to follow, as you can't see the car for the last mile). We had the first of a number of nice views of Venus and Mercury shortly after sunset - not bad for a hand held shot!
Image

OK we got back to our room rather late that night and ate a super quick meal (we bring a microwave and just eat quick stuff, who wants to wait around in a restaurant when you want an early start the next day!). So the next day we got a rather late start up Bat. Thanks to Candace for some detailed notes, we found the correct route easily but we were starting late and it's rather steep and rocky, with a bypass requiring a bit of attention to contend with. We made it nowhere near the top ridges, but did see a pair of courting prairie falcons. The view shows the steep descent with some late afternoon colors.
Image

Our last day was by some measures the best. We went up Epaulet from the Greenwater Valley side. After seeing this distinctive peak for so many years, it was great to climb it, and the route is sweet, following traces of old roads then across some very pretty grasslands to the basalt blocks of the summit. We found the cutest little tiny baby "horned toad" on the way in.
Image

The views are grand from the summit, and it is not very frequently climbed.
Image

Also very nice overview to the east of the Greenwater Valley.
Image

That was another long day and our next day was the last, with just a few hours in the park. We walked the top of Red Cathedral from the Zabriskie Point parking lot. I've followed this track before but now it is officially signed and as a result had much more traffic - in fact I'd never seen anyone else out here but there were half a dozen parties this day.
Image

After this we explored around Navel Spring for a while, and found a number of nice fossils, until it started to rain and we reluctantly drove out 190 and back to Las Vegas. After this I went out with my friend Jim of birdandhike fame, and we did some camping and service work in Basin and Range and Gold Buttes national monuments. These places are both great and I recommend them highly!
Last edited by MojaveGeek on Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
wbdeford
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 684
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by wbdeford » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:24 am

Very nice shots! Looks like you had a nice time.

User avatar
Stincil
Jayhawker
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri May 02, 2014 4:20 pm
Location: Kingman, Arizona

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by Stincil » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:43 pm

That's what a trip report is supposed to look like. Than you for sharing.
Thanks,

Keith

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by TacoLand » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:26 pm

Good stuff, also appreciate you taking the time to share your March trip with us! Your first Epaulet summit photo is killer.

Are you going to be posting info about your Basin & Range / Gold Buttes trips anywhere?

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2003
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:09 pm

TacoLand wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:26 pm
Are you going to be posting info about your Basin & Range / Gold Buttes trips anywhere?
Funny, I was just thinking about that. Both trips had a bunch of time devoted to service projects so not so many highlights, but I have a number of Gold Butte trips that are worth a report of their own.

Basin and Range is just vast. I love the incredible open spaces. The peaks were all somewhat snowy and a bit of a cold blast with the precipitation the day before we went up didn't help so really didn't get any big ascents there. Gotta go back. I'd forgotten how marvelous it is there.
Stincil wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:43 pm
That's what a trip report is supposed to look like. Than you for sharing.
Aw, you make me blush :)

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2003
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:17 pm

Hey, Taco, weren't you supposed to be out there in March? Was wondering what you ended up doing.

User avatar
netllama
Grubstaker
Posts: 497
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:59 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by netllama » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:47 pm

Another excellent trip report. Thanks for sharing. Super jealous, as I likely won't be getting down there this year at all.

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by TacoLand » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:04 am

MojaveGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:17 pm
Hey, Taco, weren't you supposed to be out there in March? Was wondering what you ended up doing.
Yep, was out there for four nights with some friends that had never been to the Park before. I'm hoping to finish a trip report today for work -- Patagonia pays their employees to adventure outdoors! Once that's done I'll edit it a bit as there's a bunch of boring gear overview, then post here on the site. It was a pretty mellow trip, but we had a blast.

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2003
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:57 pm

Ah you work for Patagonia. Good company! And I remember their old "stand up shorts" that even I took a decade to wear out!

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by TacoLand » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:38 pm

MojaveGeek wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:57 pm
Ah you work for Patagonia. Good company! And I remember their old "stand up shorts" that even I took a decade to wear out!
You'll be happy to know we still make them ... and probably still take at least a decade to wear out.

I've actually got a couple 40% off promo codes to use on our website for full-price items. They expire April 30th -- anyone interested feel free to shoot me a Private Message and I'll pass 'em along until I run out.

User avatar
Death Valley Dazed
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Location: Utah

Thanks Geek - been looking forward to your TR

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:03 pm

I get a big kick out of the various trip reports, what interests people and the places they decide to explore. As usual, I find myself having to get out the map and try to find out where you have been because I've not heard of most of your places before. I'm gradually getting my DV bearings and enjoy your images of the geology, scenery and the little lizard. I wish you had an image of the raptors pair.

Thanks for the excellent TR and for placing a few more locations on my ever expanding bucket list.
Life begins in Death Valley

User avatar
Rockhopper
Jayhawker
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:46 am
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA

Re: March 2018 trip

Post by Rockhopper » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:56 am

Nice pictures! And a good report. I've never seen a horned lizard that young.

Post Reply