We, the DeLucia’s, as cavers have a fun tradition of ringing in the New Year underground. For 2014 we continued this by visiting Death Valley National Park in California and some of the surrounding mines. If you’ve never been, Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest point in the continental U.S. On this trip it was just Don, me “Lisa,” and Josh this time around, and for the first time ever. Dani was out of the country.
Meal planning was difficult this time around as we are now avoiding high fructose corn syrup. You can only imagine the extra planning this caused but we are always up for new adventures, food included.
Don and I spent the week prior cooking all the meals we would take. We had breakfast muffins and banana muffins. We had beef stew made from organic vegetables. We had chicken salad and sandwiches with homemade bread and fruit. The only stops we took were for gas and restroom breaks.
We spent three days in Death Valley. We drove into the valley a different way. We took the dirt road into Green Valley and it was indeed green this time of year. It gave me a nice mental picture of what the early pioneers and miners saw when they first entered the valley.
We started our day by visiting Dante’s Point and checking out all the scenic sites on the east side of the park. This included Bad Water, Stovepipe Wells, Artists Palette, Sand Dunes, Devil’s Golf Course, Harmony Borax Works and long beautiful drives with that desolate 360 degree panoramic view that Death Valley is known for.
On our last day we went to the West Side Road. It is a long dirt road with graded gravel. This is the route to get to Hanaupah Canyon, Johnson Canyon and Galena Canyon. Along the road, we paid our respects to Shorty’s Grave alongside Jim Dayton. (Check out the DeLuciaOutdoors 2011 Halloween video to get more info on these two colorful miners.) The Eagle Borax Works ruins are on this side of the valley.
As it was New Year’s Day we ventured into mines to pay respect to tradition. It was tricky, as the walk to the mines was on a scree slope. It’s much safer to take the trip with us right now on Don’s slide show.