Tuesday, March 16, 2010

See the fallen snow

A friend and I left Vegas on Sunday afternoon to go snowshoeing in Death Valley. Our original plan was to leave "noonish" which turned into about 3:30 p.m. Despite our late start, we got to Death Valley while it was still light out.

But not for long.

We were able to find a place to park the molester van and sleep for the night that wasn't too far from the trail head, so we were able to start out at first light.

The charcoal kilns at the parking lot looked pretty cool. They used those to produce charcoal that was later used in the smelting process for some of the old mines in the area.

I signed in at the trail head.

We were well on our way by mid-morning.

We even had to use ice axes in a few places

Unfortunately, I am an old man, so this was as close to Telescope Peak as I would get.

This was about five miles in, and I was already beat. I knew that if I attempted to summit that I wouldn't be able to make it down off the mountain, so I told my friend to go ahead and I'd wait. He said he'd be back in about 3 1/2 hours. This is him on the way out.

I spent my time listening to my ipod and doing this:

His estimate of returning in 3 1/2 hours turned out to be more than ambitious. I started to get nervous when nearly 5 hours* had passed and I still hadn't seen him coming back down the ridge. I decided that I'd wait another 45 minutes, and if I still hadn't seen him then I'd try to call for help. Fifteen minutes later I saw him coming back down the trail.

An hour or so after that he made it back to where I'd been resting up for the return trip. From that point on it was a race with the sun, but we still took some time to admire the scenery.

Here's me overlooking Badwater.

We made it down the mountain and back to the road by dark, and just had to snowshoe the last mile and a half to the molester van using our headlamps. We made it to the molester van at about 9:30 p.m., and got back home at about 1 a.m. That made getting up at 6:30 this morning to get ready to teach a little difficult, but I made it alright. I'm glad we went. It was a good trip.

*The worst part about waiting that long for him to come back wasn't that I was contemplating calling search and rescue, or that I probably have brain cancer from sitting that long in close proximity to a radio tower that was on the summit where I was waiting. No, the worst part was that he had the toilet paper with him, and once peristalsis would no longer be denied, I found an answer to a question that no man should be faced with: How many snowballs** does it take to clean ones bunghole after dropping dooce in a snowbank?



Heff said...

Cool post....literally.

Although it would have been interesting to get a shot or two of the "molester van", it's equally nice to know how many ice-wipes it takes to properly clean a dirty arse in frigid weather.


steph said...

so beautiful. I am going to Seattle in two weeks and plan on some snowshoeing myself!

Anonymous said...


Dee Ice Hole said...

I coulda gone the rest of my life without knowing that---and that is not a scientific evaluation that you did either. One experiment does not become a theory. ;=)

Bill From Gainesville said...

8 snowballs is like natures Bidae (sp)That european thing ....

Kymical Reactions said...

burrrr. that musta sucked. but, awesomwe that you got to use a ice pic. As pretty as it is, I'm done with snow for the rest of the year.

Gypsy said...

What a great place! You must've been getting a bit worried about your friend after 5 hours, and I don't mean cuz they had the dunny roll.

I think I would have just done what dogs do when they wipe their bum. Just as cold but no hands involved.

Amber said...

LOL ewww, thanks for sharing LOL. I'm pretty impressed that you can snowshoe that far up a mountain! Also, I would never have thought that DEATH valley would even ever get snow. I learned so many things from this blog! ;>

moi said...

Wow. Beautiful. A friend of mine's husband just ran a marathon at Badwater and the pics she sent back were astounding. Must. Go. There.