It’s the end of December, it’s cold and snowy in Oregon. But I want to get out and get a few more days of camping and hiking in before the outdoor adventures turn to skiing for a few months. With a few days off before Christmas, Death Valley seemed like the place to be. It’s a bit of a drive so I headed out after work and made it about halfway there the first night. I found a nice out of the way camp on the Battle Mountain district of the BLM to spend a few hours before getting back on the road Saturday morning. The Battle Mountain district is an astonishing 10.5 million acres, a huge chunk of Nevada. Starting out the next morning, I was treated to a great sunrise over the basin and range setting that dominates Nevada.
I made my way through Austin, grabbing breakfast and a little local gossip before deadheading for Death Valley.
I had enough time to roam the sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells before hitting the road to the trailhead at Marble Canyon I intended to explore the next day.
After hiking the dunes I headed to Marble Canyon. It’s a bit of a bumpy road, about 14 miles or so, about 4 miles up a wash, the rest though various stages of alluvial fans, sand to boulders. It made for a good trek. After eyeing the possibilities I chose a spot near the trailhead to get a good launch to the trail in the morning. With the short days, I got there just in time to savor the last of the light on the mountains. It was a nice quiet camp with nothing but the wash to keep me company.
It was quiet enough that I couldn’t hear a thing. I just savored the last light and looked forward to the morning hike.