We decided to take advantage of the second-to-last week of daytime childcare (i.e. school) and do a quick couples trip.
Post-pandemic, I’m aiming for one adventure each month.
Tuesday morning we caught a 7:30am flight out of Denver. Gaining an hour, we rolled out of Vegas by 10am and were hiking by 3pm.
The idea was PM/AM hikes to get some overload in preparation for a September trip to the Grand Canyon.
Wildrose Peak, 2,200 vert, ~8 miles, trailhead (at ~7K) was 20F cooler than Stovepipe Wells, which was 102F.
After the Wildrose Peak hike, it was time to get to the campsite.
From the 2WD lower trailhead, it is ~2 miles to the 4WD upper trailhead. I’d rented a Jeep and was grateful we didn’t have to haul our camping stuff up the road, or camp lower down.
In Colorado terms, it’s a good dirt. I would have felt OK giving it a shot in a Honda CR-V or a Subaru.
That said, the consequences of a double-flat, or torn oil pan are high… 60 miles to the nearest mechanic.
Arriving at the trailhead, we were surprised to see a couple sedans up there. I was grateful for 4Lo in the Jeep, a smooth drive up for us.
One guy managed to tear open his gas tank, while backing up close to our campsite. It was 7pm. He declined an offer to get a message out via satellite communicator and decided to deal with the salvage operation the following day.
We had periodic cell reception on the high ridges – not enough for the web but good enough to send a couple pics/texts to our kids.
Telescope Peak is the highest point in the Park. The first two miles of the trail had a little exposure and the last mile to the summit is exposed to rockfall if parties are above you.
The prior day’s hike (Wildrose Peak) was mellow. Great trail with no exposure, or rockfall.
Fun fact, if you start from the Death Valley side then you can climb >10,000 vertical to the summit of Telescope. However, the route wasn’t clear and the valley is a reminder that, sometimes, nature wants to kill us.
Looking down, I could see water in the canyons, no idea on salt content.
We left the stranded motorist a spare gallon of water and crossed paths with a Ranger on our drive out.
Here’s a link to the NPS write-up on Telescope and Wildrose.
For peak conditions, I used OpenSummit.Com to track the forecast (Telescope Peak). Zion was our back-up plan if wind, or weather, wasn’t favorable.
The Trails Illustrated map of Death Valley National Park saved me more than one wrong turn.
These days, quick trips are where I point my fitness. Avoiding the incentives associated with racing is a better deal for my marriage and myself.
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