A Travellerspoint blog

December 2018

Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley, CA

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

Driving around the slopes of a mountain range in a 40 foot RV in the dark is no fun. We already came this far, there was no turning back. We had to keep on weaving our way towards Furnace Creek Campground, even if the last stretch seemed like a lifetime. Everything looks different in the dark and trying to find a free space to camp and then backing up into the spot quite challenging. Tony taught me how to guide him in the dark using only arm signals and a flashlight. It worked like a charm. In no time flat, we were set up and had some burgers on the griddle. The sky was covered with stars, probably the most stars I have ever seen.
In the morning I tried to connect to Landon's online school, with 3 G and barely 2 bars, it was impossible to get anything uploaded. I walked around the campground, holding out the cellphone in front of me, in hope of another bar. I found that extra boost right beside the dump station. Desperately to get Landon logged in for school, I stayed beside the sewer until business was taken care of. LOL
With some classes out of the way, it was time to prepare for a great day of exploring.
First place we visited was the Furnace Creek visitor center, to gather info, maps and Landon's Junior Ranger assignment. After that we were off to Mesquite Sand Dunes. 20181129_093515.jpg 20181128_110115.jpg
I was soooooo excited to hike this absolutely incredible place. This seemed like a big playground to me with the biggest sandbox ever. We wanted to get to the highest peak which seemed not too far away, yet it took forever to get to. Walking in sand is no joke and climbing some of these dunes will get your heart pumping. 20181128_132922.jpg 20181128_123831.jpg
Once we made it to the peak, we were totally surrounded by sand, as far as the eye can see. I packed a light lunch and we devoured our cookies. Landon wanted to swim down the dune, getting a great exfoliating experience along with sand in his pants. My shoes were so full of sand it began to hurt. Several times we had to empty our shoes and we found several lost socks along the way.
People walk barefoot to keep from the hassle of sand laden shoes, not realizing that their socks decided to stay. 20181128_123043.jpg
We did not see any animals out there, only holes leading to burrows that belong to the kangaroo mouse. Upon returning back to the parking lot, I was already able to feel my legs from walking the hottest place on earth. 02D8A9E89275C104D8978EFE6F1249EF.jpg 02D9B4C8DB41BE3C7CCE022624D2AED2.jpg
But...we weren't done yet.
Next stop was Salt Creek and Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in the western hemisphere.

Posted by Meike Carter 05:23 Comments (0)

Red Rock State Park

View Our Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

About a 30 minute drive from Las Vegas, heading West is another amazing place, Red Rock State Park .The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converges with the El Paso Mountains. We asked at the visitor center if the parking lots along the 13 mile stretch thru the park could accommodate RV's. We were told, it is doable. Well...we took Journey through the park only to discover that all the parking lots were swamped. We had to come up with Plan B.
Red Rock Campground is just a couple of minutes from the main entrance and serves as first come, first served. This is a primitive campground, no hookups, no water, some composting toilets, but right in the desert with the nightsky as clear and full of stars. Luckily two more spots were available. We set up, paid our $11 and relaxed for the night. Our plan B was to enter the park in the morning, park in overflow parking with RV, unhook the Jeep, take advantage of the WIFI connection to do school. That plan worked ! I even prepared lunch and packed my hiking bag full with water, sandwiches and camera equipment. We jumped into the Jeep and explored Red Rocks. A much better attempt! One of my highlights was this amazing hike through a canyon that got steeper and rockier the further up we hiked. In some parts we had to climb up sides of little cliffs. It was so thrilling and adventurous, perfect for a picnic at the top of an overlook. 20181127_124209.jpg
DFBDAEF9BF729DB17F96EDE5FA7865BF.jpg W 90_20181127_131428.jpg e also hiked the Petroglyph wall trail alongside the mountain. That trail seemed safer to me, it wasn't as strenuous as the other. I am glad we took the entire day to visit Red Rocks. Around 3pm, we returned to the Visitor Center parking lot, connected the Jeep and headed towards Death Valley, California.

Posted by Meike Carter 09:17 Comments (0)

Valley of Fire

View Our Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

20181124_104115.jpg While camping in Vegas, it was a must to visit the Valley of Fire for the day.
Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years. At the Visitor Center, Landon was able to complete his Ranger assignment by checking out exhibits on the geology, ecology, prehistory and history of the park and nearby region. Upon receiving his badge we were ready to continue exploring.
We did notice a large number of tourists, something that was unusual for us. Of course we picked the busiest time of the year. The week of Thanksgiving. 5E8F2C2EDCC71D457F573617E097469C.jpg
20181124_104335.jpg There are two campgrounds with a combined total of 72 units. Campsites are equipped with shaded tables, grills, water and restrooms. A dump station and showers are available. All campsites are first-come, first-served. A camping limit of 14 days in a 30-day period is enforced.
Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert approximately 58 miles Northeast of the Las Vegas Strip. It covers an area of approximately 35,000 acres and was named for the magnificent red sandstone formations. They were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago. These brilliant sandstone formations can appear to be on fire, depending on how the sun reflects on them.
We were lucky and had a pretty close encounter with 2 bighorn sheep. They must be used to people, because they were not intimidated. It seemed that they were checking us out too. 5E8D7BB6DD0C5CC47DC24BC30F698561.jpg
While we hiked Petroglyph Canyon our stomachs couldn't hold out any longer and we wrapped up the day . I could spend 2 days here, maybe next time we camp at Atlatl or Arch campground and really experience the Valley of Fire. 5E8E19D4AC0B47BE4CE6E95558184CF0.jpg 20181124_134145.jpg 5E8CF1DBE5C0C676CFD1BAD1750EF0A7.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 09:15 Comments (0)

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