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Published: February 7th 2014
Clouds at the top
Thursday, 6 February, 2014
We left Furnace Creek and drove to Stovepipe Wells, where we stopped for gas at $4.459/gallon. Outrageous, but it was 60 cents a gallon cheaper than in Furnace Creek. But if you saw those steep, winding mountain roads the tankers have to traverse to deliver gas to the park, you might understand the high prices. It was more overcast today than any other day of our trip. As, we headed west we saw more and more clouds. The haze and dreary skies washed the color and distance out of the vistas, making photography almost a waste of time. Kerry had forgotten how steep and winding the road is on the west end of the valley, and he didn’t like it one bit.
Once we left the park and started down the west side of the Panamint Mountains and into the Owens Valley the sun began trying to peek through the clouds. By now we could see the tall mountains of the Sierra Nevada range, but their tops were hidden by clouds. As we neared Lone Pine, a bunch of ravens flew up out of the road, frightened by our approach. Then a coyote ran into
Death Valley NP
the road, grabbed the road kill they were enjoying and took off with it. Kerry said he could see in his mirrors that the ravens were diving at the coyote, trying to get their lunch back.
We pulled into the Boulder Creek RV park in Lone Pine, and set up the camper before heading into town for lunch and a drive up to the base of Mount Whitney. It’s amazing that you can go from the lowest point (282’ below sea level) in North America to the base of the highest mountain (at 14,508’) in the lower 48 states in about 100 miles.
Around Lone Pine lots of cowboy movies were made starting in the 1930’s and continuing to this day. A drive up the Whitney Portal Road takes you past sites of many of our childhood favorites like Lone Ranger Canyon and Roy Rogers Movie Flats. The Alabama Hills, which were formed by an earthquake in 1872, are an amazing jumble of boulders, perfect for cowboy movies (and Gunga Din.) The Whitney Portal Road climbs up to Mount Whitney, but was closed to traffic near the base of the mountain due to ice and
Death Valley NP
Panamint Mountains from the west side
loose gravel. While the clouds still hugged the peaks, and the snowfall this year (as the last 2 years) has been way below normal, the mountains still have such a majestic presence. What a great treat this road was, we’re so glad the lady at the campground recommended it.
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