onward and upward

Just writing about that horrible toxic night at Death Valley gave me a bad sinus infection that had me down for a solid 3-4 days. 😉 It’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉 But back to the rest of our journey… with far better days ahead.


Starting the climb out of Death Valley. Note the white RV that’s made it near the top of the climb (just to the right of center near the top).


If you compare this to the previous image, it’s a closeup of the final climb. Look for the white RV finally chugging it’s way up to the flat spot.


Looking back toward Death Valley below. We still had the climb pictured above ahead of us.

Monday, Presidents Day, we drove a mere 100 miles (give or take) going from the lowest elevation in North America to the highest point in the lower 48. Leaving Badwater Basin in Death Valley, 282′ (86 m) below sea level behind, we had to climb a mountain pass or two until we reached the next campsite looking up at Mt Whitney 14,505′ (4,421 m).


Driving along Owens Lake, once a stopover for millions of migratory waterfowl. These days the water is shunted to LA and it’s mostly the salt flat we drove along for a good many miles. It was also rather shocking to see how little snowpack there was up on the mountain tops at this time of year. Snow melt is one of the most important sources of water for the entire state of California. Lone_Pine-0363

We stopped for a good lunch at Lone Pine. Then headed up the Portal Road to the Lone Pine campsite. The elevation at the campsite: 5860′ (1786 m) was well below Whitney’s peak at 14,505′ (4,421 m) And what a wonderful, quiet, secluded campsite it was! It more than made up for the previous night.



22 thoughts on “onward and upward

    • Spring has arrived early here and along with it… allergies. I got hit with one of the worst allergy attacks ever. Things are mighty strange with Momma Nature indeed.


  1. Sounds like a very good day indeed Gunta. Beautiful pictures. Such a shame to hear about the destruction of such a valuable natural resource for wildlife in favour of urban sprawl.


    • Water has been a huge issue out west here, even before this massive drought that is affecting most of the Western states. Even Oregon is well below its normal rainfall for the year. It’s becoming a huge problem for the large cities (LA, Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc) that have had huge population booms, but are built out in the middle of the desert… with their golf courses and swimming pools and green lawns sucking up incredible amounts of water. It’s quite insane, really.


    • I had hoped we could meander around in my old stomping grounds from Placerville up and around Lake Tahoe, but the passes were all closed. Couldn’t quite understand why since there was mighty little snow up there. Even Mt Whitney barely had any snow on the peak, as you’ll see in the next post.


    • Thanks, Lavinia. The Death Valley was one of those live-and-learn things. Good to get it over with and move on. And move on we did. The rest of the trip was lovely.


  2. I know that Mount Whitney is technically the highest peak in the mainland US, but the land area where it is located is already very high above sea level. Therefore, I consider Mount Rainier to be the highest mountain in the US mainland at 14,410 ft because it juts up from pretty near sea level, considering how close it is to Tacoma and Puget Sound (55 miles).


    • I like your geographic loyalty. It’s one way of looking at it. Another is how impressive Mt Rainier is for the reasons you mentioned. On the other hand, having lived in the Sierras, I suppose I have a love for that mountain range with it’s many gorgeous peaks and parks and unique beauty of its own. I give both of them bragging rights without taking anything away from each other.

      Liked by 1 person

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