I had heard about Saline Hot Springs and heard you always needed a 4wd vehicle with high clearance to get to this place. Death Valley Loop and a Hot Spring. I figured that Bikepacking would be a good way to get there since I didn’t own a 4wd. A few bike buddies from Bishop Bikepacked this route. I new I really wanted to go. I had just happen to look at the Baja Divide Facebook page and Eric had posted he wanted to do a loop in Death Valley so I messaged him we found some dates that worked. A couple weeks later we met up at Country Kitchen in Big Pine and drove up to Waucobe Springs Rd.
Just off Big Pine Road we found a pull out parked the cars and loaded up the bikes.
Day 1 was about a 34 mile ride to Eureka Dunes. The loop started off with fast 15 mile down hill from a starting point at around 7300ft elevation.
After Miles of down hill there was a short uphill to a Talic mine.
Then there was more down hill thinking this is awesome but we will be climbing big at some point.
We took a quick break from all the downhill to admire some of the wild flowers blooming at around 3500ft. I was amazed by the purple flowers.
We where out of the mountains and was approaching the valley floor. I could see in the distance the dunes the destination spot.
After about 14 miles of paved downhill The road turns to dirt,
After about four miles of riding the wash board dirt road.
I was wishing I wasn’t lazy about putting on my New Lauf Fork and Thudbuster.
There was a nice breeze that seem to drown the sound of cars buzzing by us. I could not here them approach us. A few cars slowed down a couple even slowed to chat with us and check to see if we needed water or anything.
We came up to the Eureka Dunes cutoff took a little break had a snack stop.
We saw this neat cactus and foot it to check it out. We took pictures of Cactus art making sure to be fragile with the plant life. I liked the setup of Eric’s Cactus Headshot so I reacted one for myself.
After getting a little feeling back in my crotch it was another 8-10 miles stretch of wash boards. The fighter planes from a local airbase was treating us to an airshow. I gave one plane a wave and I am pretty sure the pilot saw me and waved his plane to me as waving back.
Eureka Dunes is the largest dune in California but from a distance they did not seem so large.
Riding along the closer we got they seem to grow and I thought for sure I would see some Star Wars Characters bussing around.
I was starting to feel like I was in the middle of no where.
As we got closer to the dunes I could see vehicles and campgrounds we checked the first one that had an outhouse it was full so we rode to the next one it was full also but there was a gap between a couple campgrounds that allowed us to squeeze in. We quickly set up camp and I jumped in to some Salami and a shot of Whiskey.
Once set up I took a power nap.
After lounging around I (we got motivated) to hike explore the dunes.
For me it was a treat to take my shoes off put my feet in the sand and soak up the sunshine. Its been a record snow year in my hometown of Mammoth Lakes for Eric guessing it was just another day at the beach being from Santa Cruz, although the desert backdrop was truly dramatic and grateful that Death Valley was preserved as a National Park.
With the sun dropping and creating longer shadows the dunes where transforming into palettes of lights and shadows.
The ridge lines where incredible. Looking back at the tall walls of pinstriped rock mountains I wanted to learn Geology.
The dunes seem towering. We got to a height that we could really enjoy the views I will have to climb to the top on another trip probably car camping to reach the peak of the dunes.
The 360 views from this mound of sand was truly incredible.
At the top Eric took a picture of me laying in the sand
I looked like a squid.
The sun was dropping and dinner was sounding good.
Even this Bettle thought it was time to eat.
Once back to camp Eric started cooking his Couscous and I a Tuna packet and Salami wrapped in Tortilla.
The sun set.
Right on cue the moon started to pop.
The camp neighbors offered us a beer and Nuttela S’mores next to there campfire and with a couple shots of Whiskey an hour later I was ready for Z-land.