Re: upcoming trip to DV
Posted by G.U. on November 02, 2003 at 22:10:14:
In Reply to: upcoming trip to DV posted by AB in UK on November 02, 2003 at 18:09:25:
You don't say how much time you're going to take and what you're really interested in seeing, I can offer some comments that are intended to help a first-time visitor get to areas that would, in my opinion, be of interest.
The Pinnacles would be a brief detour; I doubt that you'd want to spend much time there. If you're by yourself, you might want to reconsider the Slate Range crossing; don't think that this route is that interesting and if you have problems, you might have to walk out as this is not a heavily used trail (and also not within the Park).
Hunter Mountain, on the other hand, is easily traversed (even in rental SUVs) unless storms hit, and provides options that are interesting. If you want to play it safe, drop down into Hidden Valley, visit the Lost Burro Mine, then out to Tea Kettle Junction and definitly go on to Race Track; no place like it on earth!
Then you've got a decision; drop down into Saline Valley via Lippencott Mine road, or turn around and head to Ubehebe Crater and points north or south. Me; I really like the desolation of Saline Valley, and the hot springs (which are not so desolate on weekends) are really a special place. BUT, while Lippincott should be no problem to go down, going back up is another matter; this is a VERY rough road that can be hard on vehicles. If you shred a couple of tires, you're screwed. So if you go into Saline, your best (and safest) bet would be to go back out via the South Pass, back towards Hunter Mountain. That puts you back on paved road and you could enter the park that way.
If you choose not to go into Saline, then its out to Ubehebe. You can go north to Crankshaft Junction; this road should be no problem at all. Then head towards Big Pine, but I'd detour to see the Eureka Dunes. Or you can go south into the Furnace Creek area, which is civilization, but is also a good staging area for trips up some of the more interesting canyons on the east side of the park; Hole in the Wall, Titus, etc.
Don't know about White Mountain; northern California is getting snow this week, so perhaps you're too late in the year to attempt this area. This also applies to other areas of DV; the elevations in some areas are quite high and the weather can be extreme. Better to exercise caution if you are traveling in a single vehicle and you don't know the routes.