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The hunt for Ice's thermometer

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dsefcik
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The hunt for Ice's thermometer

Post by dsefcik » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:53 am

On day 3 of an 8 day DV trip I decided to go and try to find Ice's thermometer (from this post http://www.death-valley.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20974)

I originally was planning a backpack trip out to the Kerdell Prospect but the temps at SPW for the first 2 days were 120 & 122 and I was feeling somewhat attached to the simple amenities in the back of my truck and even more so of the 100 qt cooler with all of my favorite adult beverages so I opted for just a day trip out instead.

Here is the Google Earth rendition of my gps tracks:

Image

I started from the Emigrant campground and followed the single path trail straight out. There was another group camping and they all kinda just stared at me as I wondered off towards the mountains with my 2 gallon Camelbak on and another gallon jug of water in my hand. I had anticipated about 4 miles each way but it ended being closer to 5 1/2. I carried 3 gallons of water but only drank about 2.

The hike out was somewhat uneventful, there were numerous 2-3 rock piles along the way and some recent foot prints of what seemed like a single individual going all the way out the canyon.

After almost 5 miles into the canyon I came to a small dry fall and found Ice's GPS coordinates, they were straight up the side of a canyon wall

Ice's coordinates were up on the top of this:
Image

I didn't climb it but did look around another 3/4 mile or so up the canyon. After about a half hour of searching I gave up. I ate some lunch and headed back down to the campground. The canyon itself was not all that terribly exciting, there were some flowered cactus and some of the usual kit fox / rabbit burrows and I did see a few really fast jack rabbits run by. There were actually some pretty cool lava rocks down towards the bottom, if your into that kinda thing.

Some cat scat with bones in the canyon:

Image

The small dry fall:

Image

On the way back down, I veered off my path up to follow some other set of rock piles, thinking it might be a shorter distance and found myself in a wash with a funky looking trail up to masses of cairns marking a trail out. I remember reading in Diggonett's book something about possible historical indian trail and cairns here but I am skeptical...I did see depressions in the dirt near some of the rock piles indicating recent rock removal to add to the piles.

Here are the cairns:

Image


Anyway, did I found Ice's thermometer? No...but I had a good hike out anyways. I left around 9am and got back around 2'ish or so. I drank about 2 gallons of water although I carried 3 gallons with me. After I ate lunch I went down to SPW for some ice and the thermometer above the door was hovering around 119/120 and this was about 4pm. I ended the day by driving out to Zabriskie point, Dantes View (to watch the sun set) and then drove to Greenwater Valley to camp out overnight.

You can see all of the pictures from my trip here: http://picasaweb.google.com/daren.sefci ... directlink

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netllama
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Post by netllama » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:28 pm

Thanks for the report. That mass of cairns looks super creepy (Blair Witch project creepy). I suppose they could have been created over time by a bunch of copycats, but all the same, I'd be freaked out if I came upon something like that in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, how was camping in Greenwater valley ? Were the temps any better? The last time I tried to camp out there, it was ridiculously windy, and after trying to get my tent staked for the better part of an hour, gave up.

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Ice
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Post by Ice » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:58 pm

dsefcik....
outstanding walk you had!!!
i feel like i owe you a cold draft beer for all your efforts!!!!
amazing that you saw footprints out there. i remember returning to emigrant campground after my trip to the prospect and 2 young european gals had camped at emigrant and they just starred at me like " where did this guy come from" as they gazed out into nothing......anyway, your trip re-inspired me to hit the kerdell one more time especially since it's cooling off. i found it amazing that the starting point (emigrant cg) is on the main artery into DV, yet 5 minutes into the walk (i like that trerm better than hike) you realize that its one of the most remote, desolate, lonley journey anyone can make. i applaud you for for efforts once again, and the fantastic trip report! if you ever make it up there again, i left a solar powered refrigerator with a pony keg of draft beer at .........never mind. just a joke. peace brother and thanks for the report!
ice out
...burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail, poisoned in the bushes, and blown out on the trail...

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dsefcik
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Post by dsefcik » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:47 pm

netllama wrote: Anyway, how was camping in Greenwater valley ? Were the temps any better? The last time I tried to camp out there, it was ridiculously windy, and after trying to get my tent staked for the better part of an hour, gave up.
Greenwater Valley, my last minute decision to turn down the dirt road...was the unexpected highlight of my trip. That night was a full moon and the valley was cool, finally I was not baking hot all night long. How do you take a picture of a full moon setting and the sun rising at the same time...I couldn't.

That night camping in Greenwater was the most peaceful, quiet and restful nights I have on memory, I did not see a single soul that evening, night, and all the next day. It was just me and everything else out there. I probably didn't sleep a lot but laying in the back of my truck just watching the moonlit landscape all night was just what I needed...I will go back and visit again for sure.

Moonrise in Greenwater Valley
Image

Moonset in Greenwater Valley
Image

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Last edited by dsefcik on Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dsefcik
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Post by dsefcik » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:19 pm

Ice wrote:dsefcik....
outstanding walk you had!!!
i feel like i owe you a cold draft beer for all your efforts!!!!
amazing that you saw footprints out there. i remember returning to emigrant campground after my trip to the prospect and 2 young european gals had camped at emigrant and they just starred at me like " where did this guy come from" as they gazed out into nothing......anyway, your trip re-inspired me to hit the kerdell one more time especially since it's cooling off. i found it amazing that the starting point (emigrant cg) is on the main artery into DV, yet 5 minutes into the walk (i like that trerm better than hike) you realize that its one of the most remote, desolate, lonley journey anyone can make. i applaud you for for efforts once again, and the fantastic trip report! if you ever make it up there again, i left a solar powered refrigerator with a pony keg of draft beer at .........never mind. just a joke. peace brother and thanks for the report!
ice out
I am just happy you gave me something to do out there, thank you!

My original plan was to hike to Kerdell, camp, hike to the Albatross and back to Kerdell, camp and then back to Emigrant for a 3 day backpack trip. From Kerdell to the Albatross is about 3.5 miles so a total of 7miles roundtrip. I think this would be a great trip for cooler weather. I am hesitant to do it at Thanksgiving since last year it snowed the night after Thanksgiving.

Here is the GE image I have of the route:

Image

I want to go back this fall and try to do it. There are also other possible routes that would go down to Lake Hill but this would require two vehicles (which I don't have).

Daren

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:06 pm

I've thought about doing a car shuttle day hike from Towne Pass over to Kerdell and out to Emigrant. I've hiked around north of Towne Pass a bunch and have hiked that old trail from Emigrant and up canyon a bit. It's a pretty long day though, and you have to climb a bunch even from Towne before you can drop down, so I haven't done it yet. Also don't know about the arm of the canyon on the south side of the main Kerdell drainage; would be a shortcut but not if it cliffed out!

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sheepranch
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Post by sheepranch » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:33 am

I couldn't agree with you more on GreenWater Valley Rd. for camping. I spent a night there in June , as a precursor for the Mt. Perry hike we did. i was about 2 miles east of the road leading up to Dantes View. Spent an awesome night alone never saw anyone else. And no bugs either. Elevation of about 3500' made for nice sleeping temperature.
The second night I spent on Racetrack Rd, as a precursor to Dry Mt. Elevation was slightly higher 4200' teperature was just as nice, but there were some bugs to contend with.
it is only when you stop searching, do you become lost

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:48 am

Greenwater Valley is one of the unsung gems, especially if you don't have a particularly HC vehicle. I like the relatively easy hike up Funeral Peak.

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bbb
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Post by bbb » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:25 am

The mass of cairns is interesting. Something similar was spotted in Yosemite Valley...

Image
[posted by ALMOST THERE]

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,28929

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