Editor’s Note: We continue to look back at our Death Valley Adventure!
We begin day three of our Adventure refreshed and ready after a great night sleep at the Briggs Cabin. In case you missed the second day of the trip, you can find it here: Day Two
If you have followed along since Day One, you already know we are using Gaia GPS to map, research and track our routes. I’m still learning about this amazing part of technology. On the 3rd day I started off recording just fine, but stopped the recording when we got fuel in Stovepipe Wells…then forgot to restart it until were were on the verge of Titus Canyon. Creating routes is very simple when you are there actually experiencing the track, but filling in the gaps can be challenging! Gaia does not have a “track editor” per se, but I can export a day’s tracks. So after some research, I discovered “GPX Editor“. It took me a few hours to learn what I really wanted to do…and once I thought I had it figured out…well…let’s just say I went back and forth and created about 5 different maps over the course of “learning”. I did have 2 good tracks from Day 3, I just needed to create a track to piece the two together, then splice the new segment into the the existing gpx file, which I think I accomplished…and it won’t take me as long next time! Near the end of the article, I share the route using the “Relive” App…it got a little confused as well but the overview is still accurate.
Today’s plan was to venture over the Panamint Range, through the Wildrose and Nemo Canyons, over Emigrant Pass at 5318 ft, down Emigrant Canyon Road and back down into Stovepipe Wells where we would get some needed fuel for the rest of the day.
A quick stop into the gas station for a few things then back out onto Hwy 190 past the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. We would leave Hwy 190 as we made the turn towards Scotty’s Castle, which will have to be visited on a future trip since it and the road to it have been closed due to a flood that took place in 2015. We turned onto Daylight Pass Road, up through Mud Canyon and over Daylight Pass (4316 ft) along highway 374, crossing into Nevada, as we made our way towards the ghost town of Rhyolite.
In 1904, prospectors Shorty Harris and Ed Cross were the first to strike gold in this area known as the “Bullfrog District”. The story is that they named their mine the Bullfrog because of the green color of the ore. However, the symbol of the town of Rhyolite was a penguin. It represented the enigma of gold mining. It was said “There’s as much a chance of finding gold in the desert as finding a penguin”.
The town of Rhyolite was established in 1905, but in 1906 the San Francisco earthquake destroyed many financial districts and funding for Nevada mining operations was in jeopardy. The town was estimated to have a population of between 5,000 to 8,000 around 1908, but the as the mines’ production levels fell and investors were scarce, people began leaving in 1910, and in 1919 the Post Office closed.
The ruins remain and are a stark reminder of how quickly things can change in just a few years. This is a protected historic area now under the U.S. Dept of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. The structures are in amazing shape and it is definitely worth a trip to visit.
It’s difficult to see everything you want to see in such a short amount of time, but we packed in a LOT into each and every day. And today was no different! We left the town of Rhyolite behind us as we headed for Titus Canyon! A one way road off of 374 takes us over Red Pass (5250 ft)(and amazing), crossing back into California and through the ruins of Leadfield ghost town. The highlight of the day though would definitely be Titus Canyon. Driving through this very narrow (20 feet in some place) canyon with walls reaching many hundreds of feet into the sky is just spectacular!
We reached the middle of the canyon around 4:30 in the afternoon…the sun, colors of the rock and sky seemed to all be perfect. We reached the canyon exit about 5:00 pm to clear blue skies. Perfect.
We were getting close to cocktail hour and some hunger was becoming apparent, so we headed back towards Scotty’s Castle Road and turned northwest towards a NPS Campground called Mesquite Spring…and were even lucky enough to find camp spots next to each other…like it was meant to be. Time to rest up for the last epic day of this trip!
Are you ready to see where we just went? Well…here ya go! Relive did get a little confused because of the way I had to adjust the GPS coordinates, but the general path and route are still intact.
Additional images in our gallery: