Death Valley Adventure and Activities February 18 – 25, 2017

4 Mar

It is a tradition for the Tristao family to head on down to Death Valley in February and this year, Jerri, Allan and I were fortunate enough to join them. Jerri and Allan have a motor home, so I was able to bunk in on their sofa. It worked out very well.

Jolee and I drove down together a day after Jason left with their trailer and Jerri and Allan in their motor home. That worked out well too because we didn’t have to help with the set up (not that I would know what to do anyway). About 20 miles north of Tonopah (200 miles from home), we ran into rain that continued off and on all the way into Death Valley. It even snowed in Goldfield. Never have I seen so much standing water alongside Hwy. 95…lakes and ponds that hadn’t seen water for years. Of course, it was all gone by the time we returned home, but it was fun to see. (You will have to click on a picture to get better detail.)

Death Valley has seen its fair share of storms this year and some areas/roads were closed because of it).

Death Valley has seen its fair share of storms this year and some areas/roads were closed because of them.

There has been a lot of erosion from the mountains and it becomes very easy to see how alluvial fans are formed.

There has been a lot of erosion from the mountains and it becomes very easy to see how alluvial fans are formed.  Check out how small the people seem compared to the small cliff they’re standing on.

The weird thing about driving through the floodwaters in DV is that it turned my tire sidewalls blue. Other than some chemical reaction, I have no clue as to why that happened.

The weird thing about driving through the floodwaters in DV is that it turned my tire sidewalls blue. Other than some chemical reaction, I have no clue as to why that happened.

We drove to Badwater that arrival afternoon to see how it was doing and ran into many tourists. Like us, the weather was not going to deter them. Jerri took a much better picture than I did and that is why she’s not in the photo instead of me.

We drove to Badwater that arrival afternoon to see how it was doing.  Jerri took a much better picture than I did and that is why she’s not in the photo instead of me.

Dalan and his grandma (Jerri) are very close. Even though he’s fourteen, he still likes to be with adults. Jerri and I think that’s cool and very sweet

Dalan and his grandma (Jerri) are very close. Even though he’s fourteen, he still likes to be with adults. Jerri and I think that’s cool and very sweet

Coach Allan is teaching us all how to play pickleball. Everybody seemed to love it and I think it will become one of THE games in DV.

Coach Allan is teaching us all how to play pickleball. Everybody seemed to love it and I think it will become one of THE games in DV.

Scott returning a ball.

Scott returning a ball.

Jerri became the first wounded warrior of the adventure when her shoe tread sort of stuck to the court surface. It was very painful but once she got a hold of a magic potion made by good friend, Azure, her face healed up almost totally by the time she came home.

Jerri became the first wounded warrior of the adventure when her shoe tread sort of stuck to the court surface. It was very painful but once she got a hold of a magic potion made by good friend, Azure, her face healed up almost totally by the time she came home.

Playing in the pool was one our fun activities. I love this pool because it’s fed by a warm spring, has no chlorine and the water is re-circulated each day. The water is then used on the golf course.

Playing in the pool was one our fun activities. I love this pool because it’s fed by a warm spring, has no chlorine and the water is re-circulated each day. The water is then recycled on the golf course.

Bike riding is another activity.

Bike riding is another activity.

Walking the dogs is a necessary activity but gives one the opportunity to walk around the camp and maybe get to see some wildlife. Note the difference in size between Max and Buddy (the black dog). More on that later.

Walking the dogs is a necessary activity but gives one the opportunity to walk around the camp and maybe get to see some wildlife. Note the difference in size between Max and Buddy (the black dog). More on that later.

Golf is another activity we enjoy. I never do very well because the views, color changes on the mountains and coyotes and birds all distract me. The weather was perfect when I got the play the second time. None of us thought about taking a jacket (we should all know better because we live in a desert where the weather can change in 15 minutes). Dalan noticed that suddenly we couldn’t see the mountains and thought a dust storm was on the way. Nope, it was rain. We got a pretty good soaking but we soldiered on through to the finish. I thought about giving up but didn’t want the guys to think I was a wuss. Beside that, Scott loaned me a sweatshirt he had in his golf bag and I couldn’t give up then.

Golf is another activity we enjoy. I never do very well because the views, color changes on the mountains and coyotes and birds all distract me. The weather was perfect when I got the play the second time. None of us thought about taking a jacket (we should all know better because we live in a desert where the weather can change in 15 minutes). Dalan noticed that suddenly we couldn’t see the mountains and thought a dust storm was on the way. Nope, it was rain. We got a pretty good soaking but we soldiered on through to the finish. I thought about giving up but didn’t want the guys to think I was a wuss. Beside that, Scott loaned me a sweatshirt he had in his golf bag and I couldn’t give up then.

Another game we played was Cornhole…tossing beanbags to a board with a hole in it. This is Jason and Scott putting the beans (gravel?) back into the bags when the seams ripped.

Another game we played was Cornhole…tossing beanbags to a board with a hole in it. This is Jason and Scott putting the beans (gravel?) back into the bags when the seams ripped.

The boys used the time honored fix-all, Duck Tape, to patch up the bags.

The boys used the time honored fix-all, Duck Tape, to patch up the bags.

The boys used the time honored fix-all, Duck Tape, to patch up the bags.

Jerri throwing a patched bag. Note the white tape on the red bag.

Buddy likes to get into small spaces so that Max can’t tease him.

Buddy likes to get into small spaces so that Max can’t tease him.

I woke up one morning and there was Max curled up, thinking he is a smaller dog. Max does think he is a lap dog. He is half lab and half black mouth cur. He's also very sweet and gentle.

I woke up one morning and there was Max curled up, thinking he is a smaller dog than he is. Max  thinks he is a lap dog. He is half lab and half black mouth cur and is also very sweet and gentle.

One afternoon, Allan took Jerri, Dalan and me to see Inyo Mine that was supposed to be back in the mountains about four miles off the main highway. About three miles into the trek, Allan decided, since it wasn’t his truck, that the ledge we needed to drive over was too big and stopped. Well, why not hike the rest of the way? After all, it was only another mile…

One afternoon, Allan took Jerri, Dalan and me to see Inyo Mine that was supposed to be back in the mountains about four miles off the main highway. About three miles into the trek, Allan decided, since it wasn’t his truck, that the ledge we needed to drive over was too big and stopped. Well, why not hike the rest of the way? After all, it was only another mile…

We hiked up this road at least another mile into a gap in the mountain. It really was quite pretty. When a second vehicle passed us, I asked the driver how much farther was the Inyo Mine? He said about 10 miles. That took care of that decision. We neither had the time nor the inclination to hike 20 miles to see a mine.

We hiked up this road at least another mile, maybe two, into a gap in the mountain. It really was quite pretty. When a vehicle passed us, I asked the driver how much farther was the Inyo Mine? He said about 10 miles. That took care of that decision. We neither had the time nor the inclination to hike 20 miles to see a mine.

I espied this petroglyph on the way back to the truck. I believe it’s not a real Indian artifact as there were no other drawings nearby and didn’t look weathered as others have that I have seen. I thought it looked neat though as long as others don't think that's license to graffiti other stuff on the rock.

I espied this petroglyph on the way back to the truck. I believe it’s not a real Indian artifact as there were no other drawings nearby and didn’t look weathered as others have that I have seen. I thought it looked neat though as long as others don’t think that’s license to graffiti other stuff on the rock.

Dalan brought some gymnastics rings that his dad set up in a nearby tree. He did some tricks on them and made it look so easy.

Dalan brought some gymnastics rings that his dad set up in a nearby tree. He did some tricks on them and made it look so easy.

Can’t say the same for Jason, though.

Can’t say the same for Jason, though.

We took two cars to visit Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge where the famous Devils Hole pupfish live. I had stayed there a few years ago with my good friend, Gale, and was excited about showing the family the refuge. Ash Meadows had completed a new visitors’ center recently and I wanted to see that also. Check out https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ash_Meadows/about.html if you would like to learn more.

We took two cars to visit Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge where the famous Devils Hole pupfish live. I had stayed there a few years ago with my good friend, Gale, and was excited about showing the family the refuge. Ash Meadows had completed a new visitors’ center recently and I wanted to see that also. Check out https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Ash_Meadows/about.html if you would like to learn more.

After seeing an introductory movie, we walked on an all-accessible boardwalk to Crystal Springs. Here are the rail birds looking at the springs.

After seeing an introductory movie, we walked on an all-accessible boardwalk to Crystal Springs. Here are the rail birds looking at the springs.

Crystal Springs gushes out 2,800 gallons of water per minute. We all wanted to jump in and swim in it but that’s a no no.

Crystal Springs gushes out 2,800 gallons of water per minute. We all wanted to jump in and swim in it but that’s a no no.

Jerri took this picture, which seems like you're looking through and underwater window.

Jerri took this picture, which seems like you’re looking through an underwater window.

I am pretty sure these are Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish in their breeding blue tints. We didn’t go see the Devil’s Hole Pupfish because you can’t really see them due to a protective cage around them and the fact that my car doesn’t like real rough roads.

I am pretty sure these are Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish in their blue breeding tints. We didn’t go see the Devil’s Hole Pupfish because you can’t really see them due to a protective cage around them and the fact that my car doesn’t like real rough roads.

The family at Ash Meadows.

The family at Ash Meadows.

Scott posing for the photog. He’s hoping to take first place in the Nevada Day beard contest this coming October. Good luck, Scott!

Scott posing for the photog. He’s hoping to take first place in the Nevada Day beard contest this coming October. Good luck, Scott!

Horseshoes seems to be a late afternoon activity.

Horseshoes seems to be a late afternoon activity.

 Jumping Jason’s truck for the trip to Darwin Falls.


Jumping Jason’s truck for the trip to Darwin Falls.

We drove about an hour or so over part of the Panamint Mts. and past Panamint Springs to the trail head for Darwin Falls, a very beautiful hidden gem of the desert. Jason, Scott and Dalan opted to hike up to the top to see the source of the nine falls of Darwin. I’m glad that I didn’t know how harrowing their hike would be or I might have make a stink about letting Dalan go with them. It all turned out ok, though.

Our hike was gentle with having to camber over only a few boulders and rocks.

Our hike was gentle with having to clamber over only a few boulders and rocks.

Megan led the way. You can see evidence of flooding in the background.

Megan led the way. You can see evidence of flood debris in the background.

The crazy thing about going to Darwin Falls is that going along the side of the canyon is a rusty old pipe that sometimes is replaced by PVC pipe. It is a several mile long pipeline that takes water to the tiny community of Panamint Springs.

This PVC pipe is hooked up to an old iron pipeline that is the primary water source for the tiny community of Panamint Springs. The pipeline is several miles long

Obviously, it's been there for a long time and is still doing the job, but i think I would be leery about drinking that water.

Obviously, it’s been there for a long time and is still doing the job, but I think I would be leery about drinking that water.

Jerri and Allan posing by the falls we reached. There are eight more above our terminus point. This little glen reminded me of Elves’ Chasm in the Grand Canyon. This falls even had a little fern grotto just like the Elves’.

Jerri and Allan posing by the falls we reached. There are eight more above our terminus point. This little glen reminded me of Elves’ Chasm in the Grand Canyon. This falls even had a little fern grotto just like the Elves’.

I have no pictures of us around the campfire, but that is also a lot of fun…stories, toasted marshmallows, figuring out what a bright star is, lots of laughing and just being together.  So these are the activities in which I participated in Death Valley. The kids did a lot more like going to the Visitor’s Center and participating in some of the Ranger-sponsored activities and stargazing. Don’t let anyone tell you there is nothing to do in Death Valley or its environs.

After a week of many adventures and some mishaps (In addition to Jerri’s boo boos, I forgot to mention that a bee flew inside my t shirt and stung my chest causing a great deal of discomfort), I took Megan and Dalan home so their parents could spend an extra day in the valley. It’s fun being with them and the trip seemed shorter because of them.

We saw these all black burros alongside the road. They were getting drinks of water behind that orange fence.

We saw these all black burros alongside the road. They were getting drinks of water behind that orange fence.

Dalan went to spend the night with a friend and Megan stayed with me. Our last activity before going to bed was this domino train we built. Megan is really good at it and can make them fall just perfectly. Some are still standing because this is an action shot.

Dalan went to spend the night with a friend and Megan stayed with me. Our last activity before going to bed was this domino train we built. Megan is really good at it and can make them fall just perfectly. Some are still standing because this is an action shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Death Valley Adventure and Activities February 18 – 25, 2017”

  1. Richard Schmidt March 4, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    Once again, Cora, your BuzzardNotes not only entertains us with fascinating information and photos of the natural sciences, but serves to educate us as well. As an author and photographer you are a superb teacher and, in reading through this recent Death Valley adventure, I reconfirm that I am your BIGGEST FAN! Just sign me ––Albert Alluvial.

    • buzzardnotes March 10, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      Dear Dr. Alluvial, I remain in awe of your verbosity:-) Thank you for being such a true blue fan. Hugs

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