I returned to Butte Valley, a very peaceful and remote place in Death Valley NP. I drove through there last month, but I wanted to hike up Striped Butte. Here's a google map centered on Striped Butte. Here's a view from the summit of Striped Butte looking back toward the Geologist Cabin. It took a little over an hour to hike up along the western ridgeline. The view was great.
My friend Steve joined me for this adventure. We drove in via Goler Wash and Mengel Pass and we camped at the Geologist Cabin. It was great. The weather was nice too, with highs about 93F and lows around 60F.
We never saw any of the feral donkeys, but the ground is littered with donkey poo. At night we could hear them braying.
The star gazing was amazing. We could see the Milky Way, and were pleased to be able to spot 5 satellites in orbit passing overhead. I was surprised to see a little light pollution from Las Vegas.
Sunset yielded the best photos of the butte and at sunrise I got some nice pics of the rising thin crescent moon.
The next day we drove back out the way we came in. I was a little worried because I'd never driven that direction over Mengel Pass. It turned out to be ok. With some careful route planning and a little road-building, I drove up the rock garden with less trouble than I had coming down it the previous day.
Here's a link to a zipped kml file if you want to view this route in Google Earth.
For those interested in the road conditions ... The dry waterfalls on the west end of Goler Wash are a little worse than last month, but still present no difficulty. The photo above is me driving down the rock garden. This time I actually tapped a rock or two against the underside of the truck. The photo below is of the same rocks the next morning after I drove up them.
We tried to visit a plane crash site on the way back to Los Angeles. It's located off Pine Tree Canyon road, but we found the road to be blocked by LADWP about 3 miles from Hwy 14, apparently due to the construction of wind turbine farm infrastructure.