Hello, Death Valley hikers! My name is Steve and thanks for visiting my Death Valley Adventures site of trip reports and hiking info. I first visited Death Valley in 1997 and have been going back ever since with my family and friends. My goals within Death Valley mostly revolve around exploration and discovery. Some of my major discoveries within the park have been reported on by the DVNHA and The Weather Channel, as well as other organizations. Death Valley is my favorite place to hike, but I also enjoy hiking in other places such as Alaska, Utah, Yosemite, the South Pacific, and Europe. Below this introductory paragraph, you will find links to some of my favorite hikes and trips which I have taken which are outside of Death Valley. After you have fully checked out my special Death Valley Hiking Recommendations link on the Main Page, feel free to contact me if you have any additional Death Valley questions about hiking or park safety at firstname.lastname@example.org
NON-DV HIKES AND TRIP REPORTS
A WORD FROM STEVE
This site was built because of my love for Death Valley and my desire to help other hikers improve their safety within in the park. My concern for others has also motivated me to share a few thoughts about my personal beliefs within this small section of the Introduction Page. I recognize that everyone has their own beliefs and I completely respect that. That being the case, I would like everyone to know that as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I give all credit and glory to Jehovah God for the creation of beautiful places like Death Valley. Two of my favorite Bible passages (as noted below in bold) highlight my personal appreciation for this. There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting out under dark night skies in Death Valley and looking up and reflecting on what a magnificent and loving Creator we have.
Psalm 104:24 states: "How many your works are, O Jehovah! You have made all of them in wisdom. The earth is full of what you have made."
And Romans 1:20 states: "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."
Perhaps some who are reading this believe in creation. Others may believe in evolution. Regardless, I would like to encourage all to read the brochure entitled "Was Life Created?" which is pictured on the right.
The brochure contains beautiful pictures and teaching diagrams designed to help answer that question. On page 2 of the brochure there is a subheading which is asks 'What is the purpose of this brochure?'. The brochure answers, "It is not the purpose of this material to ridicule the views either of fundamentalists or of those who choose not to believe in God. Rather, it is our hope that this brochure will prompt you to examine again the basis for some of your beliefs. It will present an explanation of the Bible's account of creation that you may not have previously considered. And it will emphasize why it really does matter what you believe about how life began. Will you trust the claims of those who say that there is no intelligent Creator and that the Bible is unreliable? Or will you examine what the Bible actually says? Which teachings are worthy of your trust, your faith: those of the Bible or those of evolutionists? Why not review the facts?". If anyone is interested in reading the brochure, please contact me and I would be happy to e-mail you a digital copy. You may also download a free copy on your own from the web site jw.org by clicking on PUBLICATIONS > BOOKS & BROCHURES and finding the title in the Search box.
DV ADVENTURES OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE #1 -- PROMOTING HIKER SAFETY
My Death Valley Adventures site has three stated objectives. Objective #1 is Promoting Hiker Safety. This is my main objective because Death Valley can be a very dangerous place to hike for the unprepared and unaware. My hope is that by reading and following the safety suggestions on my DV Hiking Recommendations page, your overall hiking experience in the park will be much safer. As a long-time Death Valley hiker with great success and experience in carrying out hikes safely within the park, I want to help newer visitors to the park (as well as older visitors) to be safety conscious at all times. One park visitor wrote to me after his trip and stated: "Thank you for sharing your experiences and love of the Park and helping us do the same, and smartly, and safely. I now have (a satellite safety device) thanks to you so I can put my dear wife at ease back home." So that gives one small example of the main objective of my site of promoting hiker safety being fulfilled. In reviewing my hiking reports on the Main Page, you may notice small circular graphics next to destination names. The circular graphics on the left side represent the general level of difficulty of the hike. Family friendly activity is identified with an outline of an adult and child. Desert hiking is identified with a hiker carrying a stick. Safety alert is identified with a warning sign. While not being definitive, this will give you a general idea as to how difficult I consider a particular hike to be. Destinations labeled as Desert hiking can be very challenging and require good route finding skills. Destinations labeled as Safety alert have a serious obstacle in the midst of the hike along with other difficulties.
If you are interested in visiting a location I have covered here on my site, you will find my reports and pictures helpful as a starting point. You will then need to check the internet for additional details, read guidebooks, and obtain the necessary maps. Once you have completed all of your research and arrive in Death Valley, you should check in and talk with park rangers at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. They are an important resource and can help you determine if you are properly prepared, in good enough physical condition, and can safely hike in Death Valley. One online article said this: "The extreme heat of Death Valley has killed people in the past. It will continue to kill those who do not honor this extreme climate. Death Valley does not forgive those who are not careful." The bottom line is that people die while hiking in Death Valley nearly every single year. Many of them were not prepared for the heat or other difficulties involved in desert hiking. As a sad example of this, a hiker died of heat-related issues in July of 2014 when he attempted to hike through a remote wash below Manly Beacon in the Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch area in the middle of summer. In addition to heat concerns, some hikes in Death Valley contain high dry falls and exposed bypasses which should only be climbed or crossed by those with the proper ropes and safety gear. Please hike responsibly and do not assume that you can accomplish the same hikes that we have done and show here on the site. Remember that your personal safety is your responsibility and you should not attempt anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or is beyond your own reasonable and safe limits. In Death Valley, most of the time you are usually hiking cross-country routes through the rugged terrain of the Mojave Desert. Cell phone coverage outside of Furnace Creek is mostly non-existent, so help may not be available for someone who gets injured. Without the proper maps, guidebooks, assistance of park rangers, knowledge, safety precautions, navigational abilities, heat considerations, supply of water, hiking and/or climbing ability, and other necessary preparations, you could find yourself in serious danger. When you read any one of my reports, what you don't see is the 5-10 hours that I first invested in preparing for the hike by printing maps, studying satellite imagery, reading guidebooks, uploading GPS coordinates, scouring the internet for details, and talking with park rangers. In summary, your hiking experience in Death Valley will be much safer and more successful if you take the time to prepare properly beforehand.
OBJECTIVE #2 -- PROTECTING DEATH VALLEY
Objective #2 is Protecting Death Valley. Protecting the park for future generations means that I encourage all to become familiar with and fully follow park regulations. A list of current park regulations can be found on the official park web site. Protecting the park also means that I do not disclose the locations of certain areas to the public. There are a number of places within Death Valley which I have either purposely chosen to or been asked to leave off of my site. At the beginning when putting together this site, I decided to never share any photographs of rock art in the park or speak about places where it could be found. The purpose behind everything stated above is to protect the place that I love in the best way possible and not allow my site to be misused in any way. Please respect my decisions in this regard and do not e-mail me asking for locations of rock art, because I will not provide them. You will notice in my reports that a select few of the canyons and natural bridges do not have maps or details on how to find them. If you do locate some of these areas on your own, please respect the wishes of the park service and help protect them by not posting directions or maps to them on the internet. Based on past experience, there is a definite need to prevent increased visitation to certain areas to prevent overuse and potential vandalism to natural features, canyon walls, and dry falls. It is also much more rewarding to find these places on your own, rather than being given detailed directions.
OBJECTIVE #3 -- SHARING DEATH VALLEY
Objective #3 is Sharing Death Valley. The original purpose of my Death Valley Adventures site was simply to share pictures of my Death Valley trips with my family members and close friends. I wanted to share the beauty of what I was seeing and experiencing with them, and having this site proved to be very effective in doing that. Especially since many of them couldn't personally visit the park or handle long distance cross-country hikes. I also wanted to be able to look back during future years and remember all the fun things I had done and experienced in the park. That is why I put so much detail into my reports. When it came to selecting a name, I wanted to use one of my favorite places in the park. After considering some options, I decided to go with PanamintCity.com. Two other web addresses which I own that redirect to this site are DVAdventures.com and DeathValleyHiking.com. As a side effect of my building this site, members of the public began making use of my site to help plan their trips. Park staff also began widely using the site to assist the public in educating them about potential hikes. I knew that lots of people were using it when I began receiving multiple e-mails each week from people sharing kind words and thanks, and also from some who had questions. And I'm always happy to answer any Death Valley questions when I have the time. Beginning in 2014, I have been working to convert my reports into a new format which gives visitors the choice between seeing full photo sets in either a slideshow or trip report style. Eventually, all destinations which require a fair amount of hiking will be converted to the newer format. For best viewing of this site, you may wish to use either the Firefox or Safari browsers. Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome work fine as well, but you may notice larger gaps in between sections of text and photos. The reason for this small technical glitch is that browsers do not all use the same default spacing for line height. Thus, I decided to create a perfect viewing experience for Firefox and for Safari (iPad and iPhone). But the site is regularly tested in Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome as well to make sure everything is working fine. Most visitors will not even notice this, but I thought I would point it out in case anyone is wondering why they are seeing gaps between sections of text and photos. You will find that the slideshow option for viewing photos works incredibly well on iPads and also larger desktop screens. This site has been built from scratch and was not created with web site builder templates which are widely used by many people.
On the Main Page of my DVA site, you can find my Master To-Do List of around 200 Death Valley destinations. If a link is highlighted, that means I have written a report on the destination to share information and pictures with other hikers. If a destination listed does not have an active link, that means it is a future destination. Much of my trip planning has been aided by the use of guidebooks, such as Hiking Death Valley and Hiking Western Death Valley written by Michel Digonnet. I am greatly indebted to Michel for providing such excellent resources. I am also greatly indebted to and appreciate the help provided over the past two decades by friend and park naturalist Charlie Callagan. Without the help of these two very knowledgeable individuals, as well as others inside the park and on Death Valley forums, my trips would not have been the same. So I wish to publicly thank everybody who has provided assistance.
Also, please note that the canyons I have listed on the Main Page are all either officially named or informally named. An officially named canyon is recognized publicly by the park service and listed on topographical maps. Informally named canyons were assigned names by park rangers, long-time Death Valley hikers, canyoneers, or were labeled on obscure geology maps. Some of these include places like Grave Canyon, Sand Canyon, Palmer Canyon, Moonlight Canyon, Foundry Canyon, and Smoke Tree Canyon. I have personally assigned names to a few canyons on here, such as Sunlight Bridge Canyon (co-named and co-discovered with Kauri), Little Arches Canyon (named after a feature found within the canyon), and Forbidden Canyon. My personal policy is to recognize informally named canyons as legitimate and list them because it makes identifying them easier. Plus, I'm only doing this for fun and I enjoy learning about and promoting the informal names. As a personal policy, I do not recognize all informal names that are assigned by canyoneers due the excessive nature some of them take in trying to name every little side canyon and route of descent from a ridgeline down to the valley floor. But I do recognize ones that are deemed to be reasonable and in good taste. If you are unsure if a canyon name is official, simply look at either the 7.5 minute topographical maps, AAA Guide Map, Tom Harrison Map, or National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map. If you don't see the canyon listed on at least one of those, it is probably an informal name.
Lowell, Steve, and Eeyore welcome you to our Death Valley in this 1999 photograph. Eeyore was our park mascot for many years before being retired:
This was the very first picture of me ever taken in Death Valley back in 1997. The location should be easy to guess:
Daria is pictured here at Ubehebe Crater with one of our Jeep rentals from Farabee's. If you want to visit places like The Racetrack or Eureka Dunes, renting from Farabee's in Furnace Creek might be a good idea:
We pretty much camped in the park on every trip until late 2012 when the little one seen in this picture was born. During the first few years of his life, we then started staying in hotel rooms. In this picture, we tried camping with Stefan for the first time in 2014:
Many of our Trip Reports come from places which involve driving on gravel roads. This is one example, taken at the start of Racetrack Road. Here's a challenge -- try to find Eeyore in the picture:
The good people at the Furnace Creek Stables take excellent care of their horses and offer awesome rides. This is a picture of a horse named Lolly (also known as Annie). She was about 18 years old as of 2012. Lolly has logged thousands of miles of desert and Sierra trails:
From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, we always came to the park for the entire last week of December. At that time, John Dobson (pictured here) held a slideshow and star program at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center:
We always attended John Dobson's program and we also worked as volunteers with his Sidewalk Astronomers group to assist the public with telescope viewing. We have great memories of sitting around the campfire until late at night chatting with John and his staff once the program was over. John passed away on January 15, 2014 and he will be missed:
Fred Peters was a Death Valley explorer and friend. His lifetime accomplishments in DV included finding Hidden, Crescent, and Tunnel natural bridges along with his hiking partner Debbie with no outside help. He also was the first person to ever document a visit to Trellis Main Side Canyon and Forbidden Canyon. Fred joined me on a backpacking trip to explore Dry Bone Main Side Canyon. Sadly, Fred passed away on July 7, 2014 and Death Valley lost a great explorer:
Steve with Rocky Novak pictured in May of 2012 outside of the Ballarat general store:
My sister Tiffany volunteering with her college group from Chico State on an alternative Spring break trip in March of 2010. The group worked hard to close the old Eastern Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Road:
Mahogany Flat campground:
Mahogany Flat campground 2nd picture:
Texas Spring campground:
Eureka Sand Dunes dry camp:
Saline Valley Sand Dunes informal camp:
Homestake dry camp:
Hunter Mountain informal camp:
Flash flood at Stovepipe Wells campground:
Wind storm at Stovepipe Wells campground:
Panamint Springs Resort (PSR) campground:
Sometimes you can wake up to a flat tire at camp:
The next three pictures show locations in the park which we have left out of our Trip Reports. There are actually a lot of special places in Death Valley which we have either been asked to or choose not to talk about publicly. This first picture shows mining ruins that are difficult to find:
This is Dart Crash Site, one of the many secret military or aircraft wreck sites that we know about:
This next picture is the only picture on the entire site which shows some of Death Valley's famous petroglyphs. As you can see, there is beautifully preserved rock art within the park, but you will need to find it on your own through many years of hiking:
Sinclair Lydel filming a music video for one of his songs in Death Valley:
Steve's photos of Mars Hill were featured on the 2012 Mars and Mojave Festival official flyer which was given out:
Steve's DV photos including those of his family and friends (Daria and Tiffany are pictured here) are being used by the NPS in the new Furnace Creek Visitor Center hiking destinations computer. Be sure and check out this new computer for help in planning your hikes: