May 6, 2016

Death Valley "SUPERBLOOM" Part 2

So, off we headed to what I’ll call Hope and Cleaver’s Cabin. We’d known about it for a couple years, but this was the first time we’d have time to visit it.

We found it! The landscape in this area was unlike anything nearby. It’s similar to the “artists drive” in Death Valley proper, but this one was ours. No RV’s, no Trailers and no sound.

Nice front porch. Let’s unload and settle in for the afternoon. It was finally time to relax.

The rest of the crew filing down the hill.

Nice looking rack on the front porch. Was it trying to tell us something?

Hard to say...
First off, it’s time to get the flag up and let others know we’re staying... (We didn’t see anyone while we were here anyway)
The grassy knoll is a set of crosses dedicated to the 2 men who kept this place in shape for many years. It’s their cabin, we’re just visiting.

Although small, this cabin is in great shape. Lots of supplies and it’s clean enough that even I’d consider sleeping inside.

Lots of books to keep you busy. Old first editions too. I’m happy to see these have been left for the next person and the next person to enjoy.

Time to open up the windows and relax on the porch.

After a bit, we started walking around exploring. The stratigraphy in these rocks was beautiful. I may want to go back to school and study geology.

I took the truck up one of the many canyons behind the cabin. They go on quite a ways and I could see spending a couple days here just finding the end of each one.
Found an old Chevy.

This is one of my favorite shots from the day. Our own little valley.

With nothing to show scale it’s hard to grasp how far away things are.

These tags with pressed in numbers were all over the valley. Most hills had at least 1 on them. Mining claim markers? Not sure.

For a bit of scale, here is my brothers truck a few hills away.

It was time to go and see if our other buddy was going to meet up with us. He had a HAM radio that would be good once he was nearby, but we wanted to see if we should be worrying all night about where he was and if he could find us in the dark so we took a little drive looking for service. The roads we took were in shambles.
For 50 yards the road was as defined as can be, then it entered a wash and disappeared completely. I was thankful for my large tires as we crawled over boulders looking for the road. The big rains responsible for the superbloom had completely washed away roads that had been around for over 100 years. Again and again we found the road and then lost it as we climbed in elevation looking for service.
Sadly, the second my phone started buzzing, the first message was that he wasn’t going to make it. 2 kids and a wife that was ill meant he was scraping the trip. Right up until the last hour before his scheduled departure he was texting hopeful messages. Sorry to hear it buddy, next time.
The view of what cell phone service looks like out here. Not bad.

We trundled back to camp passing a guy meditating in camp that was still as Buddha himself. Then another truck where the folks were scurrying to cover themselves. Sometimes people think they are much more remote than they really are. This is not the first time I’ve come around a corner to see more skin than I wanted to! :-/
We settled into camp and enjoyed a late night of roasting chickens over the fire on a rotisserie and roasting potatoes in tinfoil over the fire.

Chewie and K hanging out by the fire. This is her “We need a dog, you know we need a dog.” face.

Right about when we were getting tired a giant flaming ball rose over the hill to our east. Aliens, definitely aliens. Wait, give me one more shot of Tequila... Nope, the moon. The moon was FULL and about as bright as I can remember ever seeing it.
The rest of the night, no one needed a headlamp or flashlight.

The following morning the sun rose with a vengeance and we knew it was time to find higher and cooler ground!
Looking back at the cabin in the center of the frame.

Which way should we go?

So many choices.

That way brother!

Next stop, warm springs. It was sad to see the decay that vandalism has accelerated in recent years as offroading has grown in popularity. Every year, we feel the pull to go further and more remote to get that same feeling of wonder.

Someone had filled the pool which, although neat in a photo, just turned it into a mosquito breeding and rat killing pond.

No lifeguard on duty.

That’s okay. The real beauty of this spot is the warm water that trickles out of the rock nearby. It’s bathtub warm, but is certainly not a hot spring.

It’s not much of a pool, but over the years folks have stacked rocks enough to contain a small area about 2 feet deep to sit in. It was fantastic.

It’s hard to believe how much water a slow trickle can add up to over time. We headed out of Warm Springs and on our way up the canyon.

We decided to take a side trip to see some petroglyphs and find a spring that has been used by Native Americans and miners alike for hundreds of years.

We climbed almost 2,000 feet in a short period, over the elevation of the main road.
You can see the rest of the crew behind me off in the distance.

Where there’s water there is always more bloom.

These lady bugs... look like they’re... well one might be a man or ladyman bug. Scandalous.

This was an evil kind of cactus that I don’t remember seeing before, ever. The Fiberglassasbestosevillonghairhippie cactus. (It’s latin name)

This is one strange and angry looking flower.

A long way from... anything. This is the point in the trip where it hits you. You’re not stressed about work, you’re not stressed about having to go back to reality (yet). This is the high point. The high point of this hill, the trip, relaxation and remoteness. All of it. This, is why you came out here.
Something about enjoying a view that few others have gives you a good feeling. It’s yours. There may be better views objectively speaking, but there are none better on the planet subjectively, in this moment.
It’s perfect, and you worked your ass off to find it.

We did find the petroglyphs. I’m sure there are more nearby, but we didn’t see them and some of the group was not into this side trip. So, we headed out.

Okay, let’s load up and head out.

Time to go to Butte Valley in Part Three.

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