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November 24th - 27th 2006  
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When: November 24th - 27th 2006
Where: Death Valley National Park

Al Walter
KC O'Connor
Chuck Hathcock
Chris & Sharon
Pasquale and Kristina
Uwe and Srisuda
Mark and Brooke
Robb and Cat
Vince and Heather
Michael and Amy
Randy and Linda

Full Album of My Images Death Valley Photo Album


My good amigo from Wyoming, KC, organized a Thanksgiving trip to Death Valley National Park. 

I had been looking forward to this trip for a few months, but my attendance was uncertain when I had a family tragedy the week before this trip.  My father passed away on the 16th of November from cancer after battling it hard for ten years. I was in Phoenix that next day and was very busy for the following week dealing with all the stuff you have to deal with when a family member dies.  By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I was really needing to get out of town and at the last minute I decided to make the trip.  That turned out to be the right decision since I had several good friends on this trip and that camaraderie was what I needed to get me through the pain of the prior week.  Friends are so important in life…    

Anyway, here I how this trip went down…

After a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with my family, and an 8 hour drive, I was approaching Lone Pine, CA.  Our meeting point was Lone Pine California at the Diaz Lake campground.  About 50 miles south of Lone Pine I started calling on the 2-meter radio to see if I could have a QSO over the repeater tower.  The tower was about 30 miles north of Lone Pine and I was skeptical, but incredibly I was able to have a short chat with Pasquale.  That worked out to be around a 70-80 mile range there.  A little closer I was able to have a clearer QSO and get good directions to the campsite. 

Death Valley National Park is in central California, sort of northwest of Las Vegas Nevada.  KC asked Al Walter to guide this trip and that was a great move.  Al knows the history of the area like a walking encyclopedia.  We were in for a treat.



November 24th 2006

The camp was COLD!  I woke up early and walked around the Lake.  The campground was right at the base of Mt Whitney, the tallest point in the lower 48 at 14,495 feet!  It is possibly the most hiked mountain in the country.  I will have to come back and hike it someday.   

We started out at the Lone Pine Visitor Center and headed east.  The pavement went away soon as we took the Swansea Grade up to the Burgess mine.  The mining history in all of this area is very rich. Along the way we were seeing old wooden structures that turned out to be part of an old salt tram that operated for a very short time around a hundred years ago.  

One section of the road was a little steep and I wasn’t paying full attention and got into a little bit of a situation and I backed out of it with Robb’s help.  No more messing around!

(Photo credit: Chris Marzonie)

We stopped at the Burgess Mine at the top of the saddle and then went over to the salt tram station.  It was in the middle of a restoration.

Later we rolled in Cerro Gordo and some of the group paid for a full tour of the old mining town.   

We made camp soon after and thank goodness that there were lots of dead piñon trees around we could scavenge wood from.  This camp was not in the park and wood collection was allowed.  The temps dropped to the teens quickly and it was tough.  Thank goodness for alcohol and fire!  ;-)

(Photo credit: Chris Marzonie)


(Photo credit: Mark Stephens)


Uwe made an aerial photo image of our Day 1 route using OziExplorer



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