Spring Break Death Valley Trip – Day 4
May 25, 2012
Sorry, no video today, too windy and WAY too much sand in the air for the poor little camera. That, and the one time we could have used it, we left it in the car. D’Oh!
5:00 AM this morning found us heading out to the dunes in the dark, our path illuminated by flashlight.
As we hiked along in the dim, pre-dawn light, I was thinking about how totally cool it would have been to actually, gee, I don’t know, have a place scouted out to go to this morning! Instead, we were kind of just wandering around in the dark – no plan.
Yup, thats’ why I like to scout out my morning locations to avoid this EXACT problem, but I was too busy shooting last night to figure something out. Hmm…
So, we made for the same area, just trying to go a little further in. As we looked around for a good spot, the sun was quickly becoming the enemy. I wasn’t spotting anything I really liked, and that ‘ole sun just kept on coming up. Of course, it didn’t help that Grant was nagging away, “Hey Dad, you know it’s getting brighter, right?” Hey Dad, those clouds are starting to look pretty good, where ya gonna shoot? Don’t you think you should have your camera setup by now? Huh? Huh?”
We finally settled on an area, but as of this writing I’m not sure if it’s a keeper or not. We’ll have to see. If nothing else, it was a decent sunrise, and we used the time out there to our advantage to scout some locations for later.
After about 4 miles of dune hiking, it was time for some breakfast. We went back to the hotel, ate, and got ready for the day.
Next it was off to Mosaic Canyon. I’ve hiked the area before and I’m convinced there’s a shot there at the right time of year.
This just wasn’t it!
Still, the canyon is always a treat to hike though and if you’re ever in Death Valley, it’s well worth the time. Some areas are, well, a mosaic of different stones all fused together, other areas are like strolling though a canyon made of marble. In fact, one area of rock is so smooth Grant used it as a slide! (That was when we should have had the camera BTW)
Next it was off to lunch at the saloon at Stovepipe Wells. Best lunch in the valley if you ask me. I’m partial to the Prickly Pear BBQ chicken sandwich, Grant went for the turkey BLT. We enjoyed lunch with some skillful musical accompaniment from a resident piano player.
So, what to do this afternoon? With the wind blowing away footprints as quickly as they formed on the dunes, I wanted to hit those again tonight, but we had some time to kill before then. Hmm, I’ve always wanted to scout out Darwin Falls – perfect!
We took off for the falls and enjoyed the 3 mile round trip hike. There was a bit of rock scrambling to get to it, but overall not too bad (although one guy came out pretty bloody after he took on a slick rock and lost).
The falls itself was in some pretty nasty afternoon light, so no photos. However, now that I know how tight the shooting is, I know what kind of gear to bring next time conditions are right. Score!
After an early dinner it was back to the dunes. I had really hoped the wind would have blown away all the tracks, but turns out that little assessment wasn’t entirely correct. So, we decided to try a smaller area of dunes (that we hadn’t scouted, of course) and try out luck there.
Yeah, bad idea.
Just couldn’t find a composition I liked – but this time the sky really wasn’t good at all, so nothing lost.
Overall, not the best day of the trip photographically speaking, but we did get find some good areas for the future - and it all starts there.
PS – As always, we love your comments, even on a photoless and videoless post!
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