Spring means a trip to Death Valley. We travel down 395 because it’s a beautiful trip, much better than blasting down the valley. After getting south of Topaz Lake, the same thing happens each year – all of my cares seem to evaporate, and I’m calm. Driving by Mono Lake always brings us joy, and visiting The Barn for some good, old-fashioned burgers in Bridgeport has become tradition.
Then we point the car towards Death Valley, nearing one of our favorite places in the world. The first Joshua tree sighting still makes me giddy. They’re like old buddies that I’ve been missing. I have to keep myself from throwing an arm around their trunks and pressing my face into their spiny bark.
After setting up the tent and getting the campsite organized, it’s time to hike. This year, we hiked up a couple of different washes, following the water-carved paths up to the top of hills as well as wandering along Mable Canyon. The way to the canyon required four wheel drive, but the washboards, rocks, and gullies were worth it for the hike.
Since it was a very dry winter, there weren’t any wildflowers this year. The vistas and geology were as impressive as usual, though, and the lack of flowers meant that we didn’t have to deal with as many people. Since one of the things we love about vacations is finding solitude, we ended up not missing the bloom that much.
This may be our last camping trip using the tent. We’re beginning to have trouble sleeping on the ground and are missing some creature comforts, like shelter from the high winds. We’ve been seriously considering a cabover camper. It will give us shelter and a bed but still allow us the freedom we enjoy.
As always, vacation wasn’t nearly as long as we wanted it to be, but it was lovely while
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