Have you ever heard of Saline Valley, California? It's one of the most remote areas in California, and the "Palm Springs" area is about 40 miles from the pavment, which equals to a three hour drive. March 19th to April 1st, 2014, I spent some enjoyable time in the Eastern Sierra, and the Saline Valley. The photos represent only a highlight of the trip, but should give you a pretty good idea of the good times I enjoyed...
Photo: Looking south to Mono Lake - known as "Salt Lake" to the locals - with the small town of Lee Vining visible in the distance, and the snow-capped White Mountains in the background. That's U.S. Highway 395 in the foreground, and the highway snakes around the west side of Mono Lake, as it heads south to Bishop and beyond.
Photo: Thursday, March 20, 2014, I camped east of Big Pine, CA, off the Big Pine/Death Valley Road, on my way to Saline Valley. I hadn't entered the Inyo National Forest, and was camping on B.L.M. land. As in all back country camping, good stewardship of the land is important, in order to keep it open for future generation. For my fire, I dug a "cat hole" and filled it up in the morning, and left no trace, except from tire tracks, that I had camped in this location. I obtained firewood from slash, obtained on the way near Deadman Pass. GPS for this location is N37.10.361, W118.13.075, elevation 4289 feet. Great place to camp, and the price is right!
Photo: Saline Valley Road is officially maintained by Inyo County, but after a few miles of leaving the pavement, the east side of the road is the boundary to Death Valley National Park. This photo is taken about four miles south of Big Pine/Death Valley Road, as I head south to Saline Valley, and Palm Springs.
Photo: North Pass, 12 miles south of the pavement. GPS coordinates are N37.02.062, W117.58.477, with an elevation of 7280 feet. After taking this photo, I filled up my ice chest with snow, not shown in the photo. Note the pinon pines and the sierra junipers which grow at this elevation. Saline Valley is located between the Inyo and Argus Mountain ranges, and is the first major valley west of Death Valley proper.
Photo: Looking into Saline Valley proper, about 25 miles south of the pavement.
Photo: Saturday, March 22, 2014 finds me camped at Middle Springs in Saline Valley, and working 40-meter CW using my Yaesu FT-817ND, low-power, high frequency radio. It's great to have a valid amateur radio license in this remote location, as cell phones are spotty; ditto for VHF or UHF, so if I ever got in trouble, I would be able to call for help. However, tonight, I'm simply contacting other radio amateurs just for the fun of it.
Photo: My camp at "Middle Springs," in Saline Valley. Note the dipole radio antenna that I have attached to my truck, as per the previous photo, which allows me to "get out" from this remote location. "Middle Springs" is located 39.6 miles from the paved Big Pine/Death Valley Road, and is actually 7-1/2 miles east of Saline Valley Road. You could say this is remote! GPS is N36.48.808, W117.45.943, with an elevation of 1504 feet.
Photo: Much to the chagrin of the Park Service, Saline Valley Hot Springs is located within the boundary of Death Valley National Park. The hot springs have been in existence forever, but have only been within the park after the boundary was expanded in the 1990's. The hot springs themselves are natural, but the hot tubs aren't, but the hot tubs have been in existence long before this area became part of Death Valley National Park. The "green team" and the Park Service are determined to obliterate the hot tubs... If you choose to visit here, PLEASE leave no trace, pack out all garbage, even the ashes from your fire, as we would love to keep this place open.
Photo: Beautiful desert scenery at Middle Springs. This is a "clothing optional" area, but these young ladies have chosen to keep their clothing on. Whatever the case, the scenery is beautiful!
Photo: Beauty and the beast. Me: Beast. Gloria: Beauty. I spent the weekend of March 22/23, 2014 partying with Gloria and her family.
Photo: Saturday evening, March 22, 2014 is party at Middle Springs with Gloria and her family. Everybody in the family speaks Spanish, so I fit right in, and they welcomed me as a member of the family. After spending an enjoyable evening in the hot tub, they invited me over to their camp for dinner. What great people!
Photo: Sunday, March 23, 2014, my next door neighbors, Eric and Sara Arnett, invited me over for breakfast. Naturally, I accepted their generous invitation. The cooked pieces of bacon at the left of the photo will be inserted into pancakes.
Photo: Eric cooks fajitas using lots of veggies, and delicious sausage. Not shown in the photo, he and Sara also made bacon pancakes. Oh boy! These fine people are truly gourmet cooks in the desert, and they were gracious to invite me over for breakfast.
Photo: One of the fajitas I enjoyed courtesy of Eric and Sara. Not shown are the bacon pancakes, and the mimosas we enjoyed. Thanks, my friends!
Photo: Sara is sandwiched between two Eric's, in beautiful Saline Valley.
Photo: Tracy hands me a plate of a wonderful dinner. Her husband, Alan grills chicken on early Saturday evening, March 29, 2014, at Middle Hot Springs, in beautiful Saline Valley. Great people!
Photo: Gourmet dinner, prepared in the wilderness, thanks to Alan and Tracy. Chicken, potatoes and cauliflower. After eating canned food for several days, this meal was absolutely wonderful.
Photo: Alright, I actually went into Bishop for supplies, and some "real" food. Click on THIS LINK to read about some of the restaurant action that I enjoyed on this trip.
If you're looking for more information on the beautiful and remote Saline Valley, just use Google as your search engine, and you'll get all of the information you need. Saline Valley is truly a paradise in the desert!
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