Southwest Exploration—USnomads: FEB 2020 — part5


SOUTHWEST EXPLORATION: Day 5 — BIG DUNE, BEATTY AND RHYOLITE


Beatty, NV — 13 February 2020: Woke up to below freezing temperatures outside (good we decided on the hotel) and was glad to have the seat heaters in the Jeep! We went to the little diner down the block for a good breakfast to warm our insides before starting the day …

Big Dune, NV — 13 February 2020: After breakfast we drove to Big Dune to do some photos with the Jeep. It definitely would have been too cold to have camped at the dunes last night in a tent — even with the Mr. Buddy. As we arrived to the “Big” dune itself the area seemed deserted …

Big Dune, NV — 13 February 2020: While at the dunes we did a little bit of tracking …

Big Dune, NV — 13 February 2020: Though we were the only ones there, the well-worn tracks and wash-boarded approach to the biggest dunes made it clear that our solitude was a rare lucky moment, which kind of made it more special …

Big Dune, NV — 13 February 2020: We got to Big Dune early enough to have the whole place to ourselves …

Big Dune, NV — 13 February 2020: When we finished our “photoshoot” we did a few selfies, feeling good about how we made it work …

Rhyolite, NV — 13 February 2020: After leaving Big Dune we continued on towards Rhyolite and the entrance to Death Valley. We stopped to take a short walk around the open-air museum site of Goldwell where the “ghost” sculptures preside over the desert landscape. While we were there someone from the museum came outside and played the indian flute and the haunting music in the empty desert was a gift. Niki recorded it on her phone. Some random man was sitting on a colorful sculptured couch and I wasn’t sure if he was part of the art at first …

Rhyolite, NV — 13 February 2020: We finished our wander through the artwork and then went to explore the ghost town a bit. It was funny how after the “real” ghosttown of Goldfield, this preserved ruin seemed much more like a museum than I remembered it. But still it was hauntingly beautiful in its own way, and we went for a walk around the old train station which used to be closed off, then made a short drive to the cemetery which is a separate site a bit far from the main town ruins. It was the first time I had been to the cemetery there and it was interesting to see that some of the graves were not so old, while others were just simple markers like a rudimentary cross of stones on the ground, or a simple wooden cross with no inscriptions…

Death Valley, CA — 13 February 2020: We still had time and light and decided to drive down into Death Valley so we could see this entry to the valley. Originally we were supposed to go in this way and camp at Mesquite springs, but with the freezing temperatures we revised our plan to go camp down at Texas springs which is a lower elevation, and we will enter Death Valley tomorrow to set up camp via Pahrump. That route is flat and not so dramatic, so I thought we could use this time to just make the drive down to the overlook so Niki could have that experience of seeing it so dramatically. We stopped first at the spot where you get the first view down into the valley, and with the light at that time of day it really looked like a sea or an ocean. Then we went a little further until we could see the Mesquite sand dunes in the distance. The light was bizarre and incredibly contrast-y because the sun would be setting soon-ish. We were very far from the dunes but we could see their pattern and it really looked like waves on a sea…

Beatty, NV — 13 February 2020: We turned around at the bottom of the road and returned to Beatty for the evening. We got into town just at the moment the light was hitting its magical hour and after a stop to buy some jerky for Dimitri and a few other things we made some photos of the area at that end of town…