Solo Trip 2005


At the end of "part one", where I wrote, "Home again!  Home again!"  I didn't mean home to Elk, dingyHovel and my true love Lolli, no.  I just meant I was back at my Vanagon home!  For you see, my Death Valley studies have just begun!!

I have come to realize it takes a few days, or more, to get the feel of a place.  And a  few days for the wild life to become used to me.

I set up camp three miles up the old Furnace Creek road and settled in for a while.  I spent my days wandering around with my Audubon Desert Flower guide in hand and tried to learn the names of some of what I have been looking at.


Here, on the left, is Chicory and, on the right, one I got a kick out of, Filaree Storksbill.
Named for the vertical pointed, green, "storks bills".


Mojave Aster ?

And by golly, it was true.  The third day at my camp spot a Say's Phoebe flew inside my Vanagon, perched on the steering wheel and check things out wondering if maybe this would be a good place for a nest!  Its mate hovered around outside waiting for the results of her survey.  I think they really like my Vanagon but weren't too sure about me and decided against moving in.

Here are my resident pair of Ravens.  I put out some tortilla bits and although they almost immediately flew over and checked them out it took them two days to work up their nerve to actually grab one and fly off with it.  Having recently read "The Mind of the Raven" and "Raven's in Winter" I knew what to watch for.  The female did reveal herself by doing the knocking call; males don't..  They were extremely wary of the tortilla bits and did frequent fly-overs and much standing around on various rocks around the perimeter, calling and carrying on.  Finally, the second afternoon a series of hovers right over the bits with four quick touch downs and immediate take-off before finally grabbing one tortilla bit and taking it away to their favorite perch on the hill.  The next day I did an extended hike up into the hills and when I got back the tortilla bits were gone!

The extended hike up the hill yielded an unexpected find.  When the sun started setting and the shadows got long the desert erupted with white flowers so thick I could not walk without stepping on them.  Just a half hour before, where the sun was shining on this location, yellow flowers had been predominate!!


??? and Indian Paintbrush.

And then, there are times I am stumped.  I saw this laying on the ground and thought it was a shiny seed.  I picked it up, put it on my topo map, and one end wiggled!!

Note.  My friend Phill e-mailed me to tell me this unknown object;
 " a pupa. Probably will emerge later as a butterfly or moth. It was a caterpillar before it became a pupa.
The pupa is the stage where the immature insect changes into the adult."

Thanks Phill

I finally packed up and moved on up Furnace Creek to check out the town site of Greenwater.


Not much left of this mining town except a post with a bunch of old cans and wires and metal bands and a sign saying,
"Welcome to Greenwater".

A hike into a rather remote location rewarded me with Indian rock art.


And everywhere I go the wildlife keeps an eye on me!!

I attempted a drive out to Gold Valley but the last bit of road over the pass was rough enough to discourage me so I gave that idea up and turn around but the flowers along the way were spectacular.

After a week of banging around along the Furnace Creek road I decided to head for Pahrump, Nevada for groceries and gas.  Parallel to the Furnace Creek road in places were these strange tracks.  I learned from my friend Jeff in Shoshone that these tracks were made by army tanks when General Patton's group was training in this area around sixty years ago!

In Pahrump I topped off my water, bought groceries and filled the gas tank.  Then stopped by the hobby shop to see if the owner knew any of the folks Lolli and I had met during our 2004 Winter Break, the folks that were flying at that dry lake north of Baker.  He said "Sure, they are probably out at the field right now" and drew me a map of how to get there.


I ended up camping at the flying field two nights!  On Saturday around twenty-five folks came out and spent most of the day flying!!  A great bunch of folks.  The guys on the right are a dad, a son and two cousins.  All with trainers and just getting started.


Snow capped Mt. Charleston off in the distance.  40 degrees at night and 85 during the day.  I clamp my windshield sunscreen on the side of the Vanagon to cover the area where the refrigerator is located to keep the intense heat of the sun off.  It helps a lot.

One evening a guy showed up with a 1/8ths scale dune buggy.


It is powered by a weed eater type engine and really scoots!

Okay.  Sunday March 13.  My laundry is done and it is time to head back to the peace and quiet.


Click here for Part Three.  The adventure continues.

Click here for Part One