(Jan) The sun returned to Death Valley on Sunday but because of the rains many of the gravel and dirt roads we had hoped to explore, were closed. We were able to go to Zabriskie Point and take in the awesome view pictured at left. Our second stop was a paved road called Artist Pallet. It took us on a fun winding drive up into the hills to see some awesome color in Death Valley’s Hills.
We also went for a nice hike up the Golden Canyon to see the Red Cathedral. On our way up we came across a bunch of people with Star Wars T-Shirts taking photos of something in a side canyon. Look closely at the photo below on the left. It’s a JAWA! We did hike all the way to the end. The hike stopped at a steep wall that climbed up to the top of the red cathedral cliff. The last 1/8 mile was a steep, winding climb that we thoroughly enjoyed. We were awarded some great views of the Panamint Mountain range across the valley on the way down.
This was the view in our rearview mirror as we left Death Valley NP. We certainly will be back!
On our way south we decided to drive through Mojave National Preserve. Encompassing 1.6 million acres, the highest point is Kelso Peak. The preserve has one of the largest, densest stand of Joshua trees and a large area of sand dunes. We thought the area looked a lot like the desert around Quartzsite but…with horrible roads. We certainly will not be back!
(Chuck) After our enjoyable stay in Death Valley we moved on to the Steps. It is an area South of Lake Havasu, AZ. It was good to be back to the sunshine and warm temperatures of Arizona. 25 or 30 rigs are parked here. It surprised us and it seems to be a sign of higher use of this area. Five years ago when we first visited it seemed to be a very quiet place to stay. Today we talked to people in five rigs that were planning to spend the entire winter here. This long term usage may signal a new series of regulations and concerns. It is necessary that those of us who use these boondocking areas keep them clean and hopefully the area will be available for years to come.
On a hike today we came across the carcass of a Big Horn Sheep. The coyotes have cleaned it up and soon someone will have a nice set of horns to put on their garage wall.