Friday, February 17, 2017

Backroads Concussion

As we travel west through the park on 190 there are views back into Panamint Valley. After the turn north onto Saline Valley Rd, we see many more views of our campsite in Panamint from progressively higher elevations.  The arrow points to our campsite near Lake Hill.

Saline Valley is one of those places that Edward Abbey might describe as showing the good that bad roads can do for a place.

The 50 miles of bad roads to the hot springs in Saline Valley make it unlikely that the campgrounds will be crowded.  We consult our DeLorme to confirm location and direction on the sandy unmarked route to the springs, but even as we are entering longitude and latitude, this rainbow welcomes us.

"May your trails be winding, crooked, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds...." - Edward Abbey.

< First indicator that we are likely to enjoy meeting the people who may come here to camp.

Just as Ranger Bob described, Warm Spring is an oasis: green grass, palm trees...and wild burros.

At the next campground (3/4 mile up the canyon) there are two hot springs: Wizard and Volcano.  Return visitors compensate for the lack of park management by taking excellent care of the site.  All the cleaning of restrooms and pools - and the restocking of supplies is accomplished by the SPA.  This has been a favorite campground of SPA since the early 1960s.

We learn that there are two, possibly three times to avoid coming to the hot springs: Presidents Day weekend, Thanksgiving, and New Years.  Hundreds of people arrive and it gets rowdy.

What we experience here is great peacefulness in the warm sun, hot water, and an amazing 360degree view of mountains.  The Inyo Mtns to the west are topped with snow - and every afternoon they are also topped with clouds.


One of our new best friends is Chief.  He helps with the dishes and serves as a bouncer when the wild burros try to enter the camp.

The camping here is free.  The desert warmth is delicious.  We find it difficult to imagine leaving...until the night of the huge windstorm. Our closest neighbor's tent is blown down - and they move into their jeep for the night.  A Toyota FJ Cruiser with a tent on top leaves to travel the 50 miles of bad road at 3:00 am.  Everyone is cleaning grit and sand from everything by morning light.  Okay, we can now be traveling those bumpy roads back towards Furnace Creek...and a stay in the Furnace Creek Inn to mark 2 months of camping out in Quiggy.

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