Jeff examines the clear tracks of a kangaroo rat or gerbil type rodent in the dunes of Death Valley. Jeff and Rod walked out to some sand dunes. We expected some snake evidence - but there were snake tracks everywhere, as well as tracks of various types of rodents. August 11, 1982.
Dunes with Van in Distance
This shows how far Jeff and Rod walked out into the sand dunes. We expected some snake evidence - but there were snake tracks everywhere, as well as tracks of various types of rodents.
The Long Climb out of Death Valley
The road in the foreground catches your eye, but look at the road in the distance about a third of the way from the right of the image. That is the road we climbed out of Death Valley, headed toward the west and the Sierra mountains.
As we started out of Death Valley we had a steady climb from sea level through 1000 ft, 2000 ft, ... up to the Towne Pass at 4956 ft. An amazingly continuous incline. It was about 6% grade for 3 miles but then we went down at 9% for 6 miles, down to sand flats at less than 2000 ft.
Then we climbed another hump to about 5000 ft. As we topped this second hump we caught sight of the high Sierras. As we crossed the desert plain on 190 the Sierras loomed larger and larger, desert in appearance but with patches of snow at the top. It was clear why there is no road over them. August 11, 1982.
Joshua Tree, California Desert
Jeff, Rod and Mark by a Joshua tree in the California desert to the east of the high Sierras. Mark is holding a tumbleweed.
Coming out of Death Valley, we had joined Hwy 395 and headed south - I was surprised to still be in desert. The majestic Sierras were almost bare on the east side except for some trees at higher altitudes.
Brenda drove southward and we turned west on Hwy 178 and started heading up into the south end of the Sierras. Again I was surprised that we were still in desert country. I had expected that we would quickly climb into forested area. The Sierras are a very efficient moisture trap and the mountain slopes to the east are very dry. We climbed though some dramatic Joshua Tree forests. August 11, 1982.
Trip Day 11
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