Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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After getting a good night's rest near Bakersfield, I did some grocery shopping and then headed on towards Mojave. Adjacent to it is a large "parking space" for old airplanes that are no longer being used, and I'm sure this would have been a splendid photo opportunity if I could have gotten any closer, and the sun hadn't been at a bad angle.

My next stop was Red Rock Canyon, which lies next to SR 14. I mainly concentrated on the few photo opportunities next to the highway, but didn't venture into the backcountry.

Ahead were the Trona Pinnacles, located between Ridgecrest (where I fueled up and got some more money at an ATM) and Trona. After a dusty road and more unsuitable sunlight, I arrived at the main pinnacles; but once again the lack of space on my camera's memory cards meant that I had to take fewer pictures and experiment less.

From Trona, it was just a short drive into Panamint Valley, where I explored the remains of a small mining camp just next to the road, before stopping at Panamint Springs. After a tasty hamburger and fries, I headed on towards Darwin, an old mining camp. I briefly explored a mineshaft that was visible from the road, but naturally didn't venture in very far.

Darwin is a strange place. Some of it is abandoned, but then there's "no trespassing" signs everywhere and there seem to be some inhabitants left - one car passed me and stopped at a building the short time I was there. I didn't explore much - stayed on the streets at all time - because I didn't feel at ease so close to people's property, and them potentially not wanting tourists like me around.

Up next was the drive into Death Valley proper. I've driven the Highwy 190 access route a number of times now, and I'm always looking forward to it. Unfortunately, there were quite a bit of clouds, and there wasn't a nice sunset, so I pretty much just wasted my time driving down to Stovepipe Wells, up part of the Mosaic Canyon access road (which is when the sun set in an entirely unspectacular way), and then returned back to the Emigrant camp site (which is free).

I set up camp in the trunk of the car, and was glad I was not using a tent because later in the night, a storm passed over and the next morning there was some snow on the surrounding mountain peaks.

Campground Accommodation: Emigrant Campground (Death Valley National Park): $0

Short summary written September 2nd 2003.