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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Thanksgiving in Death Valley

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FishPOET

La Habra, CA

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Posted: 12/07/09 01:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tracy and I left Norco at 10am on Wednesday 11-25. We stopped for gas in Trona and we were in Wildrose campground by 3pm.

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Dinner was polska kilbasa, sauerkraut and gnocchi. In bed by 8pm. Temps dropped to the low 40s Wednesday night.

On Thursday 11-26 we met Mike & Sharon, Sergio, Scott & Chloe at Minietta Mine Rd at 10am. We all aired down and headed off on our adventure.
Mike got us off the main road and into the wash quickly as we headed for the Defense Mine Trail. We passed a few folks camping in the area. Once on the Defense Mine Trail we started our ascent. We came to the first extra credit section.

Mike & Sharon having some fun
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Sergio picking a line
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Sergio on Waterfall Zero
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I broke the driver's side stub axle.
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We spent the next hour installing the spare axle. Then it was upward to Defense Mine. We had brought a geocache to hide at Defense Mine but I forgot all about it.

The gang at the base of Defense Mine
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Looking down the chute at Defense Mine
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Exploring Defense Mine
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Mike and I climbed up multiple ladders and followed the maze of tunnels to the secondary exit. It was a blast!
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After leaving Defense Mine we made our way over to Lookout City. We found a geocache at Lookout City. GCH2NT

General Store
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Group shot at Lookout City
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We left Lookout City at 3pm and headed for camp in Wildrose. Mike & Sharon deep fried a turkey, cooked stuffing and corn. Scott cooked up some mashed potatoes and brought cranberries and a pecan pie. Sergio baked some refried beans and made fresh tortillas. Tracy baked an apple pie and a pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic. Roger arrived at 8pm. We sat around the campfire until 9pm sharing fun stories with good friends. Temps overnight were in the high 30's.

FishPOET

La Habra, CA

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Posted: 12/07/09 01:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Friday morning we were on the trail at 8:30am.

First stop was Aguereberry Camp.
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Then it was on to Eureka Mine.
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Cashier Mill
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And all the way up to Aguereberry Point. The views were incredible!
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After leaving Aguereberry Point we headed back down to pavement. We headed over to Mosaic Canyon and found a crowded parking lot. We made the trek up Mosaic Canyon. It was fantastic.

Mosaic Canyon
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We left Mosaic Canyon and stopped for gas at Stovepipe Wells. After Stovepipe Wells Mike wanted to check out the Grotto. It is a less frequented section of Death Valley and it turned out to be a gem. We had so much fun.

Entrance to the Grotto
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The first wall
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The second wall
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The view from the top
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What goes up must come down
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After we left the Grotto we headed for Chloride City and Chloride Cliffs. Our plans called for us tent camping at Chloride City but the weather would turn nasty and we made a decision to get to a lower elevation. As we found out the next morning it was a wise decision indeed. We camped on BLM land on the way to Beatty NV. Tracy and I had Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. The winds were blowing and Tracy and I were in the tent before 8pm. The rest of the group sat around the campfire. The winds died down at 9pm and it turned out to be a nice evening.

FishPOET

La Habra, CA

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Posted: 12/07/09 01:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Saturday morning we were on the trail at 8:30am. We stopped for gas in Beatty and then headed for Rhyolite.

The view of the grapevine Mountains from Rhyolite with fresh overnight snow down to 4000'
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There was a bone chilling wind blowing during our visit to Rhyolite. We persevered and enjoyed the attractions at Rhyolite.

Tom Kelly's Bottle House
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The Last Supper
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Sit Here is a sculpture by German artist Sophie Siegman GC1KYHJ
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We left Rhyolite and headed for Leadfield and Titus Canyon. The trail is one way and the guide books state that it is suitable for passenger cars. We passed a Mini Cooper on the trail and by the end of the trail he was probably regretting the decision. We saw this bird along the way.

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Leadfield
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Titus Canyon
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Titus Canyon was spectacular. It was difficult to take pictures as the trail was busy and it was so tight without any place to pull over. After Titus Canyon we spent an hour playing on the sand dunes.

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After the sand dunes it was a quick stop at Stovepipe Wells for ice. We did lunch on the trail to Tucki Mine. We turned around about half way to Tucki Mine due to time constraints. We'll have to get back on the next visit. We were back at Wildrose at 3pm. The decision was made to once again camp at a lower elevation looking for warmer overnight temps since everyone but Tracy and I were in tents. While the group headed up to the Charcoal Kilns and Mohagany Campground for a visit (and to play in the snow) Tracy and I broke camp at Wildrose and headed down to Ballarat. We arrived at Ballarat at 4pm and set up camp for the night. Tracy and I had pulled pork sandwiches and tater tots for dinner. The rest of the group arrived at 5pm in some strong winds. We used the Jeeps as best as possible for wind breaks and set up camp. We sat around the campfire until 9pm. The winds were blowing all night with some gusts over 50mph.

Ballarat
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Sunday the gang headed to Reilly Mine. Tracy and I wanted to get through Kramer Junction before the rush. We said our good-byes and hit the road at 8am. The traffic at Kramer Junction was about a 15 minute wait. I'm sure later in the afternoon it was an hour or more. We were home before noon.

Even though the weather did not cooperate it was still a fabulous trip.

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 12/07/09 02:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

camping, jeeping, geocaching, and friends - doesn't get much better. TFTTR


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


whazoo

Idahome

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Joined: 10/12/2007

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Posted: 12/07/09 02:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, what an incredible trip. Looks like it was a lot of fun. Lets talk about a new use for a tow strap LOL. At the first mine, you all look a little defensive. (bad joke) You folks must have have the sand storm we had in Borrego. We had sand an inch up the inside of the windows that blew in the little drip vents. That wind also took out every tent in sight. And I hate Kramer Junction, we were stuck there one Thanksgiving in the early 80's in a motorhome towing a dune buggy. People were getting off the highway and scooting up to the stop sign and cutting back in line while we basically didn't move. Took us 5 hours to go the 125 miles home from Cuddyback to Fullerton. That's when we moved to Oregon...
Great pictures, thanks for posting.

* This post was edited 12/07/09 10:09pm by whazoo *

bigjimcruising

Western Washington

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Joined: 02/22/2007

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Posted: 12/07/09 03:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics and good times, that's why we do this!! GF and I were up there over the long weekend too. I'll bet we drove past each other a time or two! Loved the weather and had a great time! Maybe next time we'll stop by for a drink with you guys! Happy camping! Jim.


2001 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4, 5.9 engine with winch and service body. Getting it ready for a new camper and then hit the trails!

Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Joined: 03/14/2007

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Posted: 12/07/09 04:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

camping, jeeping, geocaching, and friends - doesn't get much better. TFTTR


And don't forget the broken axle (jeep people don't seem to think they've had fun unless something breaks) and the good food!

WesternRoamer

Pacific NW

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Joined: 01/15/2008

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Posted: 12/07/09 05:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm impressed! I'll make sure not to try that Defense Mine Trail in my stock jeep. Your friends and family should be commended for that hike up Mosaic Canyon -- way to go. Appreciate the beta FishPOET!

-WR

Albin

North Alabama

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Posted: 12/07/09 06:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip report, thanks!

Where's the Defense Mine?

Thanks,

Al


KI4Dxx
‘85 Toy 4Runner
'06 F-350 SRW 6.0 PSD XLT 4x4,


SheepCamp

SW Colorado

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Posted: 12/08/09 12:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like a great time. Was there in Feb with friends and my wifes XJ. Need to take our locked CJ back and try that Defensive trail. Only got a sample of what a great place it is to spend time. Wish it was closer. Great pictures and report.


01 F350 CC SRW 7.3 Diesel
05 Lance 845
96 Jeep Cherokee, Beaches of Baja
79 Jeep CJ7, Moab Rocks

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