Monday, February 20, 2012

Death Valley

Remember the trip I took over Thanksgiving, where I got to use a metal detector to help a friend up in Canada find a clue for a game up there? Well, now there are two more that he needed assistance on. Sure, we'll go to Death Valley!

First I went hiking around Grime's Point to clear out the two caches there that I still needed. Leaves me one DNF that I'm going to have to recruit some help to locate as I've been there twice and have struck out both times.

Saturday, we head south along 95 to Hawthorne (grab breakfast), then Tonopah (grab snack and gas for the Jeep), then Beatty (check into hotel and grab lunch), before heading over the mountains to visit Death Valley for the first time! YAY! Though cloudy, it was beautiful to be down there and see the fantastic geology of that place. We stopped by our first goal and after a short hike found the information needed. Then, we dropped the rest of the way in and stopped at the sea level sign. Spent too long there waiting for the GPS to read what the sign was telling us, elevation was 0! After I got that screenshot, we headed further south to go visit Shorty's Grave, what (I believe) is the lowest benchmark in the United States. We found their grave (two men, Jim Dayton and Shorty Harris) before looking for the nearby gravity station. Afterwards, we drove north again and stopped at the trail head to Golden Canyon. In the dim light of the overcast evening, the colors were really subdued but that helped me to see the thin layers and soft ripples in the rock from the ancient lake that was here. Learned a little about the formation of this canyon and the overall valley as well.

Sunday, we headed across the valley through a sand storm to enter the next valley to the west. Turning south, we found ourselves at Ballarat, a ghost town named for the town in Australia where the largest gold nugget was found. Unfortunately, for this little adobe town, no such luck was in their future. We continued up the canyon, passing by traces of the mining history, including zip lines stretching from the canyon top to the floor. Also scattered up there were buildings, trucks, and other evidence of mining activity (read tailings). Once we got back to the border of the park, we turned and located our second goal. Then it was back down to find a few geocaches. Our first was hidden in October 2001, then we found a virtual at the charcoal kilns after we decided to explore Wildrose Road. Back down, the valley was much calmer and the setting sun made for some nice coloring on the mountains. We also found a cache at the Welcome to Nevada sign (miles from the state line oddly) and another old one on the rail bed to the Rhyolite/Tonopah & Tidewater railroad. The final cache for the night was one called Geocacher's Heaven, located next to the lot that sells all those wonderful and varied ammo cans!

Having accomplished our goal, we headed home on Monday. Stopped to clear a 6 year old DNF for me at a State Historical Marker (shuddup, I don't know why I missed it either!). Outside of Tonopah, we headed north on the Gabbs Power Pole Road to go find a cache that I agreed to watch over since I travel down that way so much. But along the way, we see this MASSIVE concrete tower! Thankfully, I had just enough internet signal to locate info on the SolarReserve Crescent Dunes Energy Project. That tower is going to be the center point to the huge solar array and where the salt will be used to store the heat needed to generate electricity. Here's the information I found: Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project

After that, we grabbed Lucky 7's (the cache I needed) as well as 361 Cache, that was hidden in the small sliver of Mineral County between Churchill and Nye (go fig!). Home to Fallon and lunch, yeah I passed up Middlegate Burgers, but I was sleepy and wanted to get home.

A very very successful weekend. I'm having fun with this adventure!

Some of the pictures I took:

Death Valley

Here's the track log:

Death Valley

Share your Adventures with SpotAdventures

No comments: