Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Living Strong in Death Valley: Day 2

Sunset over the Panamints

Saturday night was hot. We opened up the windows in the tent to help increase the air circulation, and we slept on top of our air mattress in our underwear, our sleeping bags were unnecessary. The ferocious winds only got stronger for most of the night.

I drank half a gallon of water during the night and still woke up thirsty. Dirt and sand blew through the open windows of the tent all night and when I finally woke up Sunday morning, every inch of Doug's and my exposed skin was a sickly gray color, due to the 1/8 inch layer of dust and grit that was sticking to us, glued on by sweat. I had sand in my eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Every single object inside the tent was coated with sand. There were no showers in the campground.

I was beginning to wonder if something had happened to my brain on our previous visits so that false pleasant memories of camping were implanted in my brain, because nobody in their right mind would elect to camp in conditions like these. The good news was that there was a hotel a mile down the road.

But after a sponge bath in the bathroom sink and rinsing the grit out of my hair in a washbasin and drinking the better part of a pot of coffee, I started feeling better. It was a beautiful morning and not nearly as hot as it had been the night before. The wind died down as the sun came up. We decided to wait until later in the day to make a decision about the hotel.

Sean and Doug playing in the Eureka Sand Dunes.

We drove 50 miles down a dirt road to the Eureka Sand Dunes, which at almost 700 feet tall are the largest dunes in California.

Sean running in the Eureka Sand Dunes.

It was a difficult climb up because of the slippage, but once at the top, the run down was exhilarating.

Sean and Steven at Ubehebe

We left the dunes and drove to Ubehebe Crater, where the wind was almost too strong to get out of the car.

Sean trying to fly at Ubehebe.

After Sean realized the wind wasn't strong enough to actually lift him off the ground, we headed back to camp.

We went over to the hotel and purchased passes for $3 each that allowed us to use the pool and showers. When we got back to camp around 8:30 pm, it was very pleasant, 92 degrees vs. 104 the previous evening, and almost no wind whatsoever.

It was crystal clear, providing breathtaking views of the night sky that we can't see in San Diego. The weather couldn't have been nicer if we'd ordered it ourselves.

It actually got cold enough to have a light blanket over us, and we didn't sweat or drink large quantities of water. Best of all, we didn't wake up covered with dirt and sand in every orifice and stuck to our skin with sweat. I felt better about all those pleasant camping memories now, it seemed possible that I was remembering correctly after all.

Sunday night we all slept well under that blanket of stars...

- Kathleen


< ? Blogging Mommies # >
Listed on BlogShares