2014 - March 5-20 » Death Valley (CA) and Boundary Peak (NV)

Chasing more DPS peaks, Phil Stinis and I set our sights on a handful of mountains around Death Valley National Park. This would be my fourth visit to the park, though compared to this, the previous trips were painfully short. Phil volunteered his Jeep as both our living space for the duration of the trip, and for the negotiation of some of the rougher roads we'd need to drive. Phil and I hit a total of 12 summits, had a few rest days (most of which included swimming in the heart of Death Valley), hit Nevada's high point in frigid temperatures, and visited a few ghost towns. Most days were sweetened with time for coffee in the morning, and a few beers (and sometimes even a movie on the laptop) in the evening. The hiking and scrambling was exceptional, and I'm already looking forward to another visit.

One thing that made the trip extra special for me was being able to visit my great grandfather's auto shop in the ghost town of Goldfield, NV. This wasn't planned, and it was a bit strange how this visit came about. I had been thinking of my late grandmother, Nancy Baumann (maiden name Brown), quite a bit over the course of a few days. I wasn't sure why, and just figured it was because we had hiked Brown Mountain. A week or so later, it hit me that my grandfather had sent an email about Nancy's father's auto garage, still standing, in a ghost town in Nevada. I had saved the email in a word document, promising to visit when I was in the area.  I checked the document, and then the location of the town, and it was just 15 miles out of the way from where we'd be heading next! Needless to say, we paid Goldfield a visit, and found the old shop very easily - it was on the main street near the center of town, and I recognized it from pictures I'd seen. The town itself was worthy of a visit even without family ties, and we spoke to some people about current ownership of the shop and local history, and even had lunch there (Goldfield isn't completely abandoned - population is around 270, down from 20000 in 1906). My great grandfather, Munro Brown, was part owner of the shop before he sold out in 1917 to join the military during WWI. The shop was one of the first Ford dealerships in Nevada, and the rest of the town is rich in history - largest city in Nevada in its heyday, and Wyatt and Virgil Earp had been residents. Virgil had served as deputy sherrif unitl he died there of pneumonia in 1905. Now I wonder if my great grandfather had met either of the Earp brothers...

Itinerary:

March 5 - Drive to Death Valley, attempt to drive up Goler Wash

March 6 –Drive to Russell camp via Warm Springs (pics 1-2, 7-8)

March 7 – Hike Manly and Needle Peaks, drive to Gold Valley (pics 3-6)

March 8 – Hike Smith Mountain, drive to Shoshone (pic 9)

March 9 – Hike Nopah Mountain (pics 10-12)

March 10 –Rest day in Pahrump

March 11 –Hike Brown Mountain (too windy for Eagle, pics 13-14)

March 12 –Hike Eagle and Pyramid Mountains, flat tire, pics 15-27)

March 13 –Drive to Pahrump for new tire, rest day

March 14 –Drive to Stovepipe Wells, swimming

March 15–Hike Canyon Point (pics 28-29)

March 16–Hike Corkscrew (pics 30-34)

March 17 –Drive to Dyer, wait out weather for Boundary/Montgomery Peaks

March 18 –Hike Boundary, traverse to Montgomery (fail - poor route choice/weather, pics 35-39)

March 19– Rest Day – visit Goldfield and Rhyolite ghost towns, drive to Pleasant Canyon (pics 40-43)

March 20 – Hike Porter and Sentinel Mountains, drive home (pics 44-50)

 

 

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