LooseCrew-JeffO: Death Valley - Day 2


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Death Valley - Day 2

We rolled out of bed each morning before the sun had risen. Breakfast consisted of canned soup (Paul) and Safeway Nutrition Drink and trailbars (Me).
Even though the daytime weather changed throughout the week, the nights were fairly stable 43-48 degrees and 2-7mph breeze.

We met Paul's biking group and they headed out.
I grabbed coffee from the General Store every morning before heading out.
The WiFi was pitiful. Often people could "connect" but try loading a page and it would fail. People from all over the world got to greet each other asking for assistance.
Half the tourists were Japanese. The other half were from any and all other places on Earth. In Japan, there are SO many people packed together. Open-space is small. So to come to America and look out across many miles of terrain with hardly a soul is amazing to them.
It's still amazing to me too.

I ran this day. It didn't matter which Dirty-Girl gaitors I chose - they were all appropriate: Skulls.
Out on the highway, a car stopped. I thought they were going to ask for directions but it was a British couple asking what I was training for. I just said I run and race - everything is training - even races are training for more races. Maybe they hoped they were meeting one of the Badwater runners. I dream that some day... I'll NEVER RUN THAT ONE!!

I started at Badwater and ran out onto the flats. A sign sits hundreds of feet up on the cliffs marking "Sea Level".

I ran up the Natural Bridge gorge. There's a few places where you have to scurry up polished headwalls. Very cool, but probably a very scary place to be in the rain.
Then I checked out the Devil's Golf course.There was lots of wickedly sculpted salt. In photos, it looks like crumbly stuff, but let me assure you this stuff is very dangerous. It's extremely strong and crystaline. If you fall, it will take off CHUNKS of flesh!

Next, I went to Golden Canyon and ran to Zabriske Point and back. Along the way, I explored just about every side-canyon I found. I loved squirreling my way back into lonely places where the only sounds were the silence and there was no sign of another foot print.
The sediments were mostly clays, but pumice and cinders could be found anywhere in Death Valley. The region is so inundated with volcanic activity that there's no place you can go where volcanic explosions haven't hurled debris.
Lunch was usually Muscle Milk, a trailbar, pumpkin seeds, and an apple.
Lastly, I drove to the Hole In The Wall and ran several more miles.
This ridge formation looks like rusty Swiss cheese that's melting. It looked like it should have hundreds of birds or bats living in it, but there was no sign of life. There were tons of barrel cactus growing in clusters, and some cholla, and prickly pear.
In Texas, mesquite was the bane of the land. Ranchers frequently burned it off. But I don't remember ever seeing creosote, joshua trees, ephedra "Mormon Tea", or desert holly.

At the end of the day, I had only logged 13.6 miles, but it felt like more. I was very tired and delayed-onset mauscle soreness from the 54K race a couple of days before was putting a hurt on my quads. But it was nothing a good nights sleep up on the ridge couldn't fix.


At 9:47 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Aw man, the Devil's Golf Course video is super cool! Thanks for sharing! That's fun to do a bunch little runs as side explorations!

At 10:08 AM, Blogger JeffO said...

I spent more time out on the Golf course than I had planned. It's so surreal. Taking a video was the only way I could think of to convey the look and feel of the terrain.
That was one of my favorite days on this Earth.


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