Visiting Death Valley in a week

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MidwestDesertRat
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Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Sun May 06, 2018 7:47 pm

Hi all! Ive been to Death Valley a few times but did not know about this forum until now. Lots of great information and posters here! (some great photographs too)

Anyway I am visiting next week and I was hoping for some input on what I wanted to visit. I will be there 2 days.

On my first day I will be renting a jeep from Farabee's with the intent of visiting the Racetrack going up through Hunter Mountain. I wanted to ask about the condition of Hunter Mountain Road, if there are any current issues with mud or otherwise. Ive been to the Racetrack a few times but never over the Hunter Mountain route.

For my second day I wanted to do a day hike up Marble Canyon. So, I also wanted to ask about the road to the Marble Canyon trailhead. Its difficult to find good information online about this road. I'll have a regular rental SUV, probably HC but not 4WD.

Thanks!

Sunman
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by Sunman » Tue May 08, 2018 10:35 am

Drove Hunter Mountain Road in both directions a couple of weeks ago, other than a few washouts on the switchbacks heading down into Hidden Valley, nothing to be concerned about.

I Haven't driven Cottonwood Canyon in a number of years but you should have no issues there either. Have fun.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue May 08, 2018 12:50 pm

Please take heaps of pictures and come back here share what you saw. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great trip. The only thing wrong with your plan is that it's too short. Death Valley can easily gobble a week of vacation before you even know it's gone.
Life begins in Death Valley

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Tue May 08, 2018 7:47 pm

Thanks Sunman and Death Valley Dazed!

For navigation on Hunter Mountain Road once I am on it, will I just take the more developed looking fork on the road forks? That is what it looks like based on Google Earth.

I will try to post a lot of photos from my trip.

This is 5th time there and I do wish I had a lot more time than I do. I feel like every time I go, I leave with an even longer list of places in Death Valley Id like to visit. For instance, I keep trying to get a really stunning moving rock photo from the Racetrack but it can be quite challenging as you need the lighting to be just right. After taking my time through Hunter Mountain I hope I will be able to catch a nice sunset at the Racetrack and maybe this visit will be the one!

I think I am just going to rent a Farabee's jeep the second day too just so I do not have to worry about any car issues going out there. Also having the Spot unit along is nice for peace of mind as well. I will try to get an early start to get up to the 4th set of narrows in Marble Canyon. We'll see if that actually happens when I am out there because I think its a good 5 miles one way and it'll be very hot. But based on my research it is not a difficult hike, so I might have a shot.

Sunman
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by Sunman » Wed May 09, 2018 12:30 pm

MDR,
Yes, just keep left at the forks and you'll be fine. They all appear well travelled. Worst case you'll detour to Goldbelt Springs which is not necessarily bad.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 2:18 pm

You will find lots of shade in Marble. But if you get too hot and want to quit early, consider taking the right fork at the "Goldbelt" rock into a side canyon that shortly comes to some pretty deep and awesome narrows. Also watch the canyon walls for "interesting things"

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Fri May 25, 2018 10:37 am

MojaveGeek, I actually did end up doing that. I determined that it was just too hot to continue and I did not have enough water to make it. I think I stopped about 1/2 way from the 2nd to third narrows. I found the hiking pretty easy after the 2nd narrows so I think I should be able to make it in a cooler season. It was in the upper 90s while I was there and I think turning around was the wise decision... especially since I ran out of water about 1/4 mile before getting back to the car. I got to a dry fall in the side canyon that I might have been able to get over, but I did turn around there. I have some photos that I like from this trip so I'll make a trip report at some point.

I do have a question though. I noticed a bunch of cattle up on Hunter Mountain. Finding them in the middle of the park was unexpected for sure. Does anyone know whose cattle are those and where do they go for the winter?

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desertdryad
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by desertdryad » Fri May 25, 2018 9:07 pm

I don't know who own the cattle, but I believe it's a 'Grandfathered in' sort of arrangement. I remember being stunned myself to find cattle in Death Valley the first time I went up and over Hunter Mountain!

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Fri May 25, 2018 9:38 pm

desertdryad wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 9:07 pm
I remember being stunned myself to find cattle in Death Valley the first time I went up and over Hunter Mountain!
About five or six years ago after discovering Death Valley for the first time I drove up and over Hunter Mountain and was equally surprised to see a cattle operation, water troughs, pipes and some corrals and herds of cattle with poop all over the road. I came across a fellow with a horse trailer and a horse or two managing the herd.

I was also pleased to drive and hike through some of the lovely forests on Hunter Mountain and finding that old cabin with the hantavirus warnings tacked on the walls. I'd like to spend much more time exploring all over Hunter Mountain. A ranger told me that they used to due cannabis busts on Hunter Mountain because it was so isolated and that there was spring water for irrigating the cash crop.
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MojaveGeek
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MojaveGeek » Sat May 26, 2018 4:14 pm

Yes you really have to roll with the punches in terms of heat/weather, especially getting later into the spring. The canyon is beautiful but it's not worth getting severe heat stroke! At least in a canyon you can almost always find some shade to sit down in. Also I've often noted that on the way up canyon, your mind doesn't really register how steep the angle is, how fast you're going up, until the return trip.

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Tue May 29, 2018 11:51 am

It amuses me that everyone apparently had the same reaction of surprise I did to the cattle on Hunter Mountain. I wonder if the individual who tends to those cattle has a cabin up in the Hunter Mountain area too, or perhaps he camps up there.

Hunter Mountain is quite a place. You would never guess that you were in the middle of a desert up there. It feels much more like you're in the Sierras.

I am pretty confident that I can make it to the 4th narrows and back in milder temperatures in Marble Canyon. I think when the temperatures are 90+ that limiting day hikes to something like 6 miles is pretty sensible for me. My usual strategy is to turn around when I have consumed half of the water I brought with me.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:11 pm

MidwestDesertRat wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 7:47 pm
I will be there 2 days.
OK, so how long do we have to wait for your trip report? Not long I hope!
Life begins in Death Valley

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: Visiting Death Valley in a week

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:54 am

5 days was your answer. :)

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