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Sestrella - Lowest to Highest Trail Journal - 2017

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City: Davis
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Sep 14, 2017
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Sep 14th, 2017
Start: Badwater
End: Hanaupah Canyon
Daily Distance: 12
Trip Distance: 12.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 123
Journal Visits: 1,328
Guestbook Views: 1
Guestbook Entrys: 0

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Amargosa River

Day 1

I planned on leaving Davis around 5 AM, but I’ve had insomnia so I thought I would not set an alarm. Better to get some needed sleep and a later start. I slept well and ended up leaving at 6:30. Road construction on 395 slowed me down about an hour. The drive up to Cerro Gordo was slow and steep in my 4Runner. I never needed 4WD, but definitely high-clearance, good brakes, tires, and general condition of a vehicle is way more important. When I got to Cerro Gordo, there were friendly people. The caretaker couple suggested a couple of spots to cache water. I chose behind the propane tank. They said if anything happened to the water, someone is always around and will gladly give me water. I wrote my ETA and phone number with a Sharpie on the 2 gallons I cached.

Apparently somewhere on that road I punctured my tire, because when I got out on the main highway, the dummy light for a flat tire came on. I thought about ignoring it, since that happened once before after the sensor got coated in dirt, but since I was in a convenient place to change it, I pulled over. When I got out, I heard a “pshhhhhh” and the front left tire deflated in a matter of minutes! I had cell service so I called my roadside service to do the job. Yay! Unfortunately, that set me back another hour and a half. And now I had no spare (at least I have a real spare tire, although it’s a cheap one that doesn’t match the others).

That made me feel less comfortable about driving on unpaved roads, and it was getting late. In fact, I would be too late to pick up a permit (DV is extremely laid back about permits anyway, but I did want to ask some questions). While I was waiting for the tow truck, I tried to call Death Valley to inquire about Hanaupah Spring. I was never able to find a way to speak to a real person. I was going to do a lot of winging it! Plus, I realized I should have left my car at Panamint Springs and hitched to Badwater since I didn’t cache anymore water or pick up a permit. Too late now!

I got to Badwater just before 7, as the sun was going down. I left a note on my dash with my ETA and ICE phone number (my husband’s cell). Drank my birthday beer (oh yeah, birthday hike!) and asked someone to take my picture. Off I went with 3 liters of water plus a liter of coconut water, about 2 days worth of snack food, a sleeping bag but no tent, headlamp, iodine tabs, my phone with the Gaia app and L2H line loaded on it, not much more. I brought two new gadgets: an Anker PowerCore 10000 and a Kestrel temperature data logger. Ok three: an umbrella! I wore a skirt/shorts, sunshirt, sunhat, Brooks Cascadias, Dirty Girl gators. Pretty bare bones.

It was 99 degrees but very pleasant across the salt flat. Pretty strong breeze. I dodged the salt structures since I’d heard even brushing up against them could give me a pretty good gash. Then I hit the Amargosa River, which is mostly just muck, but some water. Soaked my shoes and socks! Got 7 miles across in 2 hours 50 minutes. Then headed up Hanaupah Canyon road and camped (lay down and fell asleep) near the canyon split a bit past midnight. Bats were about the only wildlife I noticed.

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The Lowest-to-Highest (L2H) is a 130 mile, backcountry hiking route between Badwater and Mt. Whitney, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere to the highest place in the contiguous United States. Learn more:


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