By Dennis Sullivan
Wednesday, February 24th, after about 6 hours of battling Highway 15 traffic we arrived just outside our campsite, in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California. The Kelly’s met us here and escorted us to the campground. This open campground is called Sunset Campground and is located in the southern part of Furnace Creek. No reservations needed, water, dump and restroom facilities all for the nominal fee of just $6.00 per night.
On Thursday, the Kelly’s, Moore’s and Sullivan’s decided our first run would be just down Hwy 190 about 7 miles. This is the Echo Canyon run and is one of the more popular 4X4 runs in Death Valley. It is about 10 miles up the canyon to an old mine called Inyo mine. After visiting the mine, we retraced our run about one mile and left the canyon on a different route and toward the town of Amargosa. This was the “fun” way out of the canyon and included some knarley rock crawling, and in at least one instance, we were able to test our lockers and the articulation of our vehicles. Here Ray’s jeep got stuck between a rock and a hard place, was strapped and then able to continue on the run. We finished out on highway 373 and then headed back to the Campground. We had a little extra time so we went up Hole in the Wall Canyon just south of Zabriskie point. This was a short 6 mile run up the canyon to view the holes in the cliffs and then a return to Hwy 190. Great trip and we were back to our Motor homes before 4 PM.
Friday and another great day of wheeling. The Minkler’s (Ed and Sandy) joined our group of 4X4 wheelers for Friday and Saturday. We drove up HWY 190 past Stovepipe Wells and headed out the dirt road to Cottonwood Springs. We had lunch at the springs and then headed back down to Marble Canyon. After a short trip up Marble Canyon, we had a quick descent back to Stovepipe Wells for gas and a drive back to the campground.
Saturday the 27th brought another scenic run in Death valley. We had numerous stops for pictures of the many flowers that had recently blossomed. Red, purple, yellow, white and many others collected in patches across the valley. Our run was to Chloride Cliffs.
This involved traveling up the mountain to just over 5000 feet above the Death Valley floor. From high atop the cliffs you could see most of the valley below. Stovepipe wells was visible about 20 miles north of our look out. We traveled down the mountain and took an alternate way out so we could come to the trail head for Titus Canyon. Titus Canyon is probably the most popular off-road run in Death Valley primarily because it is basically an SUV run. The trail runs up the mountain to around 5250 feet then moves back down to sea level and a fantastic passage through Titus canyon.
We had a pot luck dinner each night after wheeling and each and every one was unique and a real feast.
If you missed this Death Valley 4X4 run I hope you keep some notes of the campgrounds and 4X4 runs.
Great Visit to one of the most scenic areas in Southern California.
This last month we met at Westminster Lanes, which worked out well, with some members having dinner there. They said the food wasn’t bad and reasonably priced.
We will meet there again this month and decide where we want to meet in the future.
Hope to see you there.