I took a trip to Death Valley National Park in California over Thanksgiving break and it was a great trip combined with seeing many of my CDT 2013 friends. I don’t share most of my shorter trips, but this one is worth sharing since all involved have been part of my thru hikes and I thought you’d all enjoy the reunion. Here’s a brief summary of highlighs with a full slideshow below. It’s a huge park with plenty to do, so I hit up all the popular sites for my first visit. I recommend the Death Valley Falcon Guide and Michel Digonnet’s Hiking Death Valley, which is the “bible” for DV. My advise is to get OUT OF THE CAR and EXPLORE as some of the coolest stuff I saw was just off the beaten path described in Digonnet’s guidebook.

I started off with hiking the Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Loop and it’s a great intro to the park. More photos are in my slideshow, but it was a wide canyon with options to go above for views and then a loop option for more variation.

Golden Canyon
Looking down on Golden Canyon

Then I did sunset at Zabriskie Point where I could look down on where I had been hiking earlier in the day.

I also had time that first half day to drive down to Badwater to see the lowest point in North America. Here, I’m pointing at Telescope Peak, which is the highest peak in DV and I will later summit it with fellow 2013 CDTers Drop-N-Roll and Rockin.

I camped in the free wash area of Hole in the Wall and had an amazing sunrise with rare clouds the next day.

Sunrise at Hole in the Wall campsite.

The next day was a day of wandering with another sightseeer, Jeff, who I met the day before. We did a bit at Hole in the Wall, Dante’s Peak, Artists Drive, Mosaic Canyon, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes…full detailed photos are in the slideshow below.

Dantes Peak
My first tarantula!

Narrows in Artists Drive
Mosaic Canyon
Sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

The next day I did Telescope Peak with Rockin’ and Drop-N-Roll. I will mention that the next two nights, we stayed at Emmigrant Campground on the west side of the park, which is FREE. Problem is that it is only 10 sites in basically a dirt gravel like “parking lot.” We were able to ask other visitors if we could just park next to their site and slept in our cars no problem. Telescope was not difficult to hike, but my altitute weak self had to sit for a bit about 500ft from the top when I got dizzy.

Telescope Peak with Drop-N-Roll and Rockin’

The final day, I did Darwin Falls with Rockin’, The unique falls in this extremely dry land! It is quite the adventure if you choose to do the scrambling and climbing back further in the canyon to see the many falls and we really had fun with it!

Darwin Falls
Another even more impressive unnamed falls further up Darwin Canyon.
Rockin’ in her element on the talus rock scrambling.

On the way out, I was able to stop at Lone Pine with Drop-N-Roll where LoveNote and Burly now have a home they are fixing up. It was a great reunion and we even had time to do the hike down from Whitney Portal into Lone Pine and then see the Mobius Arch for one last sunset at the Alabama Hills. Just a great weekend packed with so much!

Hiker family! CDT 2013ers Drop-N-Roll, Burly, LoveNote, me, and little Huckleberry.
Hiking down Whitney Portal with views of Mt Whitney!
The Mobius Arch at Alabama Hills

What a great reunion! The Arch with the Sierra Mtn behind us.
Mission Accomplished!

Here is the slideshow for those who would like to see all the photos. It may only show up on a desktop computer if you have problems viewing from a phone or tablet.

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