When you only have a short impromptu weekend to spend in Death Valley, you have to make the most of your time. Our group of four narrowed down our top location to one splendid day of epic desert at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Remember those scenes in Star Wars where R2D2 and C3PO are wandering through the wasteland of Tatooine? Well, if you have a childhood, then that’s exactly where we'll be going.
From Orange County, we left on our 4 and 1/2 hour journey around 2am. When we hit highway 178, the sun just started to rise. In the desert, it seems like morning turns to afternoon in a matter of moments. Because we didn't do much planning prior to embarking on our trip, we expected to improvise and find a camp site with relative ease. Let me tell you, this was not the case. We pulled into campsite after campsite, mostly to find spots either filled up completely, or without first come first serve spaces available.
Eventually, this led us to Stovepipe Wells Campground -- arguably the least inspiring campsite in all of Death Valley. Nonetheless, we were happy to have a found a spot away from the hordes of tourists and the early to bedders.
We setup camp, and we were exhausted.
See note 1.
Note 1: Everyone was a weenie I was ready to go.
Anyways, lets fast forward to our nearest hike at Mosaic Canyon trail! (Aka Helms Deep) The walls of this trail have been smoothed down by years and years of flash floods, which carry thick grit and polish the walls into smooth marble. Its actually pretty cool. Literally. Find a spot in the shade, and you'll see that the rock will really cool you down after hiking in the later morning sun.
To be honest, having grown up camping in desert locations across southern California, this spot wasn't the most exciting. I had Mesquite Sand Dunes on my mind the whole time! But that didn't stop us from grabbing a few memorable photos.
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