Some months ago we decided to spend this year’s Thanksgiving long weekend in Death Valley, for 2 reasons: we love that desert and it would be a good test for our new camping set-up. For some months Stephen had been working on installing and fine tuning everything in and on the car. The roof top tent, a second wheel and tire, sand tracks, fridge, headlights, lighting in the tent, water tank and filter, securing pelican cases, a steel box,… and all was finished for the trip and more importantly all worked well 🙂
We left on the Wednesday in the afternoon and made it to Bakersfield that evening.
Our first stop the next day, Red Rock Canyon State Park, was a gorgeous surprise! Never knew it was there. Reminded me a little bit of Petra in Jordan (oh it’s nice to be able to name drop like this:-) ). After a short hike, we continued to Death Valley via Ridgecrest and Trona. By the time we got to our intended camping spot on Lake Hill Rd in DV the sun had set and it was time to set up camp. It was Thanksgiving Day and we enjoyed turkey burgers with all the trimmings and champagne. I had even packed some fancy candles to make it cozy. Before retiring for the night we had some fun playing with night photography and flashlights.
The highlight of the Friday was finally making it to the Charcoal Kilns in Wildrose Canyon. That evening we planned to camp on Lemoigne Canyon Road, but we missed it (not that easy to find). Not to worry, we found a road from Stovepipe Wells, past the airport, leading to Cottonwood Canyon and gave that a go. We found a nice spot about half a mile before the entrance to the canyon. We had salmon, gnocchi, green beans and sauvignon blanc for dinner, and we had some more fun with light painting.
Saturday morning after breakfast we set out to explore Cottonwood Canyon. On our way back from Stovepipe Wells to Emigrant we did spot Lemoigne Canyon Rd and decided to try it out. It was a very slow, rocky road: about 40 mins for 4,5 miles. But when we got to the end we knew that most likely we’d have the place to ourselves and we stayed to set up for the night. It was still early afternoon but it was nice not to drive all day and to simply relax for the rest of the day. That evening we feasted on filet mignon in red wine gravy with broccoli, couscous and and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon.
We got up early the next morning to start the 10 drive back home. Long day but we made it back to San Francisco well in time to go to our favorite watering hole 21st Amendment to wash away the weekend’s dust 🙂
Death Valley is part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve and is as such part of that Unesco Biosphere Reserve.