On this second day of the trip, we decided to visit Ubehebe Crater in the far north of the park, stopping off at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes on the way. First we had do drive off-road from our camp in Marble Canyon, but that was OK, and it was Vicki’s turn to drive on the tough section of road. She had to have a turn on the rented Rav4, too. After seeing the crater, we would return south and head west over Emigrant Pass, then drive up to the highest part of the park, to the Manzanita Flat campground at the trailhead for Telescope Peak.
In other words: Our plan for the day was to do a whole lot of driving, and Death Valley is the perfect place for it.
We took our time waking up that morning. We were on vacation, and there was no rush whatsoever. And that cheap air mattress was remarkably comfortable. So was the back of the Rav4. I’m six feet tall, and had no real trouble sleeping in there. But the mattress was eight inches thick, and our heads hit the roof when we sat up, so we had to hunch a bit while getting dressed. What we gained with the extra thick mattress we lost with the headroom. Oh well. Maybe we’d try using thinner pads another time.
We ate a mellow breakfast, then tossed all our gear into the back of the car. We had to get the front seats ready for a day of exploration. Then we headed out of Marble Canyon on the long dirt road to Stovepipe Wells.
First stop: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. We were on the road early, so the parking lot wasn’t totally mobbed yet, but there were still a lot of people out on the dunes. In fact, we saw some stronger hikers already climbing the tallest dune of all. That takes dedication, as the sand is deep and soft. We only explored the edge near the parking area. We’ve hiked in sand like that before, and had no desire to repeat the experience.
Video of some kids sand-sledding at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
GoPro panorama video of Ubehebe Crater
GoPro panorama video of Little Hebe Crater and Ubehebe Crater
GoPro video as I enter of one of the kilns
Video from the inside of one of the kilns showing the fun echoing sound effects
GoPro video as we drive on the snow-covered dirt road with our rented 4WD Rav4
For a topographic map of the hike see my CalTopo Page
For LOTS more photos of the trek see my Flickr Page