May 2018 trip

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MidwestDesertRat
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May 2018 trip

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

There are so many great reports here from so many off-the-beaten path locations that I feel bad posting a trip report where I hit more well-known spots. But here goes. :) I shrunk down a bunch of photos to keep the length down, but this is still very long!

I started out on my first day in Beatty. I stay there often since that Motel 6 is the cheapest hotel around DV. One day I should learn more about Beatty history. I doubt it's only function has been as a DV portal for its entire existence.

Day 1 - rented a Farabee's Jeep (love them) for 2 days. Today I wanted to photograph the Racetrack at sunset going through Hunter Mountain. This was my first time through Hunter Mountain and it was a really great experience. The drive was easy and relaxing and the scenery was incredible throughout.

Lee Flat
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Panorama overlooking the north end of Panamint Valley and the southern Cottonwood Mountains

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Travelling up the South Pass (?) these flowers that looked like blue bonnets were everywhere, and Cows in DVNP!
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A quick detour to the cabin at Hunter Mountain. This whole area seems so lush, its hard to imagine you're in the middle of the desert.

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Some terrible puns left in the register at the cabin

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Panorama heading off of Hunter Mountain and down to Hidden Valley with Death Valley and the Grapevine Mountains in the background.

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Heading down to Teakettle Junction
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This ended up being one of my best shots of the whole trip. The sun was just in the right spot when I sat down at the Teakettle Junction sign so I put on a wide angle lens and took this shot I really like.

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My visit to the Racetrack was interesting. I did not find a lot of really great rocks and tracks this time around, but what I did get was a really nice sky up to the north. The threatening skies actually started to worry me as it got closer. I did not want to be on the Racetrack if it started raining. Fortunately it was only raining lightly on the drive back.

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Day 2 - My original plan for this day was to try to hike up to the 4th narrows in Marble Canyon. But I found out that Dante's View was re-opened so I decided to try to take in a sunrise there. Of course my alarm did not go off in time so I missed the best part of the sunrise but Dante's View is always awesome. I couldnt really tell what had changed there either.

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panorama

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I stopped at Zabriskie Point on my way out to Marble because I think the light in the mornings and evenings there is nice.

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So then it was on to Marble. As advertised, the first half of the road was easy but it got rough going into the wash.. but nothing terrible.

I had originally wanted to go to the 4th narrows but it was not to be today because it was very hot and much of the hike offers no shade. It ended up that I did not pack nearly enough water to make it all the way to the 4th narrows. The grade is easy and after the 2nd narrows the terrain was very easy as well until where I stopped. I turned around probably roughly halfway between the start and the 4th narrows. After turning around I decided to head up the side canyon.

Great color on the walls. I did not see any great dragon egg walls despite looking for them. However the colors on the walls in the first narrows were amazing.

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This was the point I turned around. The scenery had been incredible to this point but I had consumed half of my water and I knew I would not be able to make it to the 4th narrrows. Did I mention it was hot? Mid to upper 90s I think. :)

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The side canyon was beautiful.

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This dry fall ended up being my turnaround point. It was a beautiful spot in the canyon and should have been easy enough to get over, but this seemed like a natural turn around spot, especially since I knew I'd spend some time in the second narrows on the way back with the lower sun and better light.

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heading back to 2nd narrows
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The amazing 2nd narrows
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Some shots from the first narrows
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The clouds provided some interesting lighting on the way out. I really want to get one of those great cracked dirt shots from Death Valley. I know this one doesnt count, but I saw this interesting looking dirt on the way out to SPW.

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The sun was starting to set on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and I grabbed these from the road.

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I took in the sunset from Zabriskie Point, because I did not think I'd have enough time to go out to Badwater Basin and find some really nice salt polygons before the sun was all the way down. Next time I am going to target the Cottonball Basin area several miles north of Furnace Creek for some sunset shots.

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I was near Death Valley for another day but spend this day around the eastern Sierras. Aside from the Alabama Hills, I did not get any photos that I am really happy with. That said, the soft pre sunrise light on the eastern Sierras was just breathtaking. My photos can in no way do justice to how incredible the scenery was at this time. I am sure most here have experienced it before, but this was my first time in this area.

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Finally on my way back to Vegas, I was able to stop by Darwin Falls. Being by myself I did not want to try the scramble to the Upper Falls, but I could see that it was possible.

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Last edited by MidwestDesertRat on Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Thanks for your eye candy trip report

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:02 pm

So glad you had a great time and your quality images are proof of that. That Tea Kettle Junction shot is the best one I recall ever seeing. The other of the cattle on Hunter Mountain with one scratching its head on a tree is funny.

That image of the ominous looking clouds over the Racetrack Playa is way cool. I don't recall seeing an image that captures this event so well.

Your report and images are making more excited about my next visit. BTW, there is nothing wrong with seeing the more common sites in the park. I love all of it!
Life begins in Death Valley

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wbdeford
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by wbdeford » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:21 pm

Looks like you had a great time and got lots of nice shots! Where is the cabin? I'd like to visit that spot next time I'm on Hunter Mountain.

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TacoLand
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by TacoLand » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:50 pm

Crushed those photos ... a lot of location overlaps with my trip in March, except here's your trip report & photos ... and where are mine? :oops:

Thanks for taking the time to share your adventures with us and glad your trip worked out so well.

D.A. Wright
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by D.A. Wright » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:37 pm

Superb photography. The land and atmosphere cooperated with you well.

I believe the Hunter cabin is shown on topo maps, but don’t have one to check presently. Looking at Google Maps in satellite view, find Hunter Spring and the cabin shows plainly a stone’s throw northwest.
Last edited by D.A. Wright on Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:28 pm

Wow you got some great shots there. I really like the sky over the Racetrack, that's very cool. The Teakettle sign is as you say perfect. And I love the lighting in the second narrows of Marble shots - that's my favorite sort of canyon light and I can never take enough pix of stuff like that. Plenty of other nice shots too in there, you've got a good eye and caught some nice light. Also looks like you were not too far behind the sun at Dante's, as you still got shadow down in the valley. Sounds like a nice trip!

And yes, its pretty strange to be up in the forest at Hunter. It's also strange to hike out to the Hunter high point - it's just a spot which is a few feet higher than lots of the land around it. But on a hot day, that shade is nice.

Thanks for posting and glad you had a super trip!

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:40 pm

Thanks guys! Landscape photography is definitely a hobby of mine and this was my first trip to Death Valley where I was really happy with a number of shots that I had. My personal favorite were the shots from the 2nd narrows of Marble Canyon. I love canyon narrows like those. My next trip (which will unfortunately probably not be until 2019) will probably be focused on canyon hikes.

I always stop at Teakettle Junction when I go by there just to check out the kettles with names and locations. People visit there from all over and its cool to see the kettles left behind. And there were a lot this time. I had no idea that shot was going to be so good when I took it. I just thought the sun was in a nice spot. But it just had so much else fall into place that it worked out nicely.

The skies were great for me the whole time... clear when I wanted sun and cloudy when I wanted some softer light and shade. I was initially really disappointed when I got to the Racetrack and did not find many rocks with good tracks.. but the storm cloud to the north kept getting bigger and bigger but never covered the horizon which made for that amazing lighting. I didnt want to be "that guy" who had foot prints all over the Racetrack if it started pouring so I left a little earlier than I should. I am from the midwest too and seeing those skies typically means it is about to start pouring, but apparently not as much the case in Death Valley.

My favorite shot with a rock and a track in it I cant even use because the bottom of the rock gets cropped out when I straighten the photo out. Does anyone know how I might copy or fill in some of the playa so that I can keep the whole rock when I rotate the photo?

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@MojaveGeek - I did get to Dante's View pretty early still. I think I was the second there that morning (like 6:15 am) but I really wanted an effect like I got in the Alabama Hills with the really soft pre-sunrise light and then the sun just kissing the top of the Panamints.

@wbdeford - I'll describe my experiences and hopefully it'll help you find it. I came up from the PSR end and I had in mind that I wanted to stop at this cabin before I started the drive. I saw it on several trip reports. You'll be looking for the only obvious right turn that looks like it is somewhat maintained. There is a cow guard? bar? (where a small ditch is dug and bars put over it that cows do not walk on) that you'll see from the main road and short wire fences along the right side as well... I am assuming to keep the cows out. If you're like me you'll be thinking you passed it for about 10 minutes but it is very hard to miss when looking for it. It is just toward the end when you're about to begin heading down to Hidden Valley. This is the turn and you can see the roof if you scroll down along the road.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/36%C2 ... 17.4843496

Both of my days spent in Death Valley this time around were incredible for different reasons.

Another thing I love about Death Valley that I did not mention in the report is that you run into people from all over the world there. I am half Swiss and I have family across the ocean. This February when I was there I met a group of people from about 30 miles away from where my aunt and uncle live in Switzerland. This time I met a photographer from Costa Rica.

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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:49 pm

MidwestDesertRat wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:40 pm
My favorite shot with a rock and a track in it I cant even use because the bottom of the rock gets cropped out when I straighten the photo out. Does anyone know how I might copy or fill in some of the playa so that I can keep the whole rock when I rotate the photo?
In Photoshop, my first thought would be to copy your entire original photo, create a new layer, past in your original photo into the new layer. If you had enough playa surface below the rock in the background, after straightening out the image in the second layer, the playa surface in the base layer will show. To help, select and cut out portions of the area around the rock in the second layer so that the surface from the original photo in the background looks more natural. And you might play around with the clone stamp to help blend any irregularities.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:10 pm

MidwestDesertRat wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:54 am
One day I should learn more about Beatty history. I doubt it's only function has been as a DV portal for its entire existence.
Beatty as a community got its start early in the first decade of the 20th century during the fantastic Bullfrog rush. Beatty likely survived, unlike nearby Rhyolite, due to its location on the Amargosa River. At one time Beatty had two railroads, served by a third (by sharing trackage). When the US highway was run through Beatty, Rhyolite was already a ghost town, Beatty lingered on, though there were definite periods of languishing. With Death Valley nearby, tourism certainly has infused enough to keep it alive.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:10 pm

Thanks D.A. Wright.

I am a novice at Photoshop but I will give that a try.. it sounds somewhat straightforward.

Thanks for the info about Beatty. The town has a weird charm to it. I also might just feel that way because it is typically my stopping point after flying into Vegas to visit Death Valley so I am already feeling good when I get there. :)

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wbdeford
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by wbdeford » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:03 am

D.A. Wright wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:37 pm
Superb photography. The land and atmosphere cooperated with you well.

I believe the Hunter cabin is shown on topo maps, but don’t have one to check presently. Looking at Google Maps in satellite view, find Hunter Spring and the cabin shows plainly a stone’s throw northwest.
Thanks! But now I am really kicking myself. I drove down that road one time, but didn't see the cabin. It was probably behind some trees.

MidwestDesertRat
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by MidwestDesertRat » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:42 am

wbdeford wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:03 am

Thanks! But now I am really kicking myself. I drove down that road one time, but didn't see the cabin. It was probably behind some trees.
As you get to the end of this road there is a gate that you have to open (and close behind you) and just beyond that gate is the cabin. Theres a little parking / turn-around area right in front of the cabin.

D.A. Wright
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by D.A. Wright » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:11 pm

wbdeford wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:03 am
D.A. Wright wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:37 pm
Superb photography. The land and atmosphere cooperated with you well.

I believe the Hunter cabin is shown on topo maps, but don’t have one to check presently. Looking at Google Maps in satellite view, find Hunter Spring and the cabin shows plainly a stone’s throw northwest.
Thanks! But now I am really kicking myself. I drove down that road one time, but didn't see the cabin. It was probably behind some trees.
The first time I went there, I didn’t see the cabin until I was almost there as it is in dense forest.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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bbb
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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by bbb » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:25 pm

Those are some really great sharp photos. Thanks for taking the time to post!

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Re: May 2018 trip

Post by Sunman » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:06 am

Really nice pics...noticed my entry in the log on 4/20, not a lot of traffic if the log can be trusted (doubtful). Glad you had a good trip.

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