Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I got on the road to Death Valley at 5:30 a.m. to avoid rush hour traffic in the bay area and to get to Death Valley before dark. I was way sleepy on the drive. I had to stop numerous times to drink coffee! The worst part was driving while tired on I5 when it was socked in with fog. By the time I got to the mojave desert area, I was finally pretty much awake. I got to Death Valley at 3 p.m. We had some snafu about where our group campsite was. It wasn't in the same place as it had been the year before but that is where the leaders of the trip had directed us to go. I volunteered to hang out there for a while and direct people to the right place. I had a nice nap in the back of my car as I hung out there. It was very toasty but not too hot.

Friday night was a night of meeting all the folks who were on the camping trip. There were some very colorful characters on the trip that had great stories to tell. One lady was a 76 year old lesbian who knew all about Nevada and Death Valley and had great stories to tell of what it was like to be a lesbian back in the 40s and 50s. The other woman told lots of stories about her rather unpleasant childhood of running away lots and being in foster homes. She seemed pretty upbeat about it though and was able to laugh about it now.

Saturday a.m. we woke up to flags at half staff at Death Valley national park and the news of the space shuttle Columbia accident. We were all depressed for a bit but carried on with our plans for the day.

Nine of us went to hike up Corkscrew peak. It was a beautiful hike. I was a coleader and was the sweep. John was the other leader and was out in front. I hung out with the slow pokes (I'm naturally a slow poke anyways LOL). One woman (poor Jamerson) was having trouble with cramping in her calves. She almost turned back about three times but each time decided to keep going. She finally made it to the top of Corkscrew peak and got to see the wonderful views and get that wonderful feeling of accomplishment when you bag a peak. On the way down that woman's calves did not bother her at all. Instead another woman was dealing with the more common knee problems going downhill. This was very steep and steady down hill too. She made it down OK but her knees were sore.

That night we had a pot luck dinner at camp. It was a pretty good pot luck with stir fried vegetables, a wonderful pork dish for the meat eaters, some pasta with sun dried tomatos and chocolate mints and cake for desert. We all turned in pretty early that night especially those of us that tackled Corkscrew peak. During the night a wind storm blew up. The winds were really strong and it blew sand dust everywhere. Fortunately for me I had decided to sleep in my car for this camping trip so I was snug as a bug in my car and dust free and my "tent" did not collapse on me. The folks in tents had a mostly miserable night with the big wind blowing their tents around and making lots of noise. It was a pretty bleary eyed bunch the next morning.

Sunday I was all set to lead a hike at Keane Wonder mine, but no one else wanted to go on the hike so I cancelled it and headed off with 4 other women to see Darwin Falls. I decided to drive home after seeing the falls. I was pretty tired out and wanted to have Monday to unpack and recover from the trip instead of spending it driving. Darwin Falls was wonderful. It was a very mellow 0.8 mile hike into the falls (after a bumpy dirt road drive of 2.5 miles to the trail head from highway 190). This is one of the few spots in Death Valley where there is a stream and water in a canyon year round. So we got to see some green plants in the canyon as we hiked to the falls. We had snacks at the falls and then headed back. I said my goodbyes after the hike and headed home. The drive back was uneventful and I made good time. I got home by 9 p.m.

Monday I slept in till noon after having gone to bed at 11:30 p.m. I sure was tired! I feel good now though after getting 12+ hours of sleep yesterday. It was a fun trip despite the sad news of the Columbia shuttle accident.

Here are some pictures I took on the camping trip: http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&uid=792531&gid=1664683&;;

I had a nice afternoon Monday. I arranged for someone to come fix my dryer this Friday afternoon and I called the Raytheon Life resources number to get referals for someone to put a new lock on my door. I did remember Monday that my condo complex has a laundry room next to the pool so I did a wash and put my wet cloths in the dryer there. It only cost $0.75 to dry them. So I am not in dire need of getting my dryer fixed. I even came up with a new chore to start working on soon. I'm going to thin out my cloths. I have so many cloths that I never wear. I'm going to pack them up and give them to the goodwill. I also need to figure out just how many socks I have left that don't have holes in the toes. It may be time to buy some new socks. Oh and I want to fix the bottoms of my chest drawers. They are sagging and interferring with opening the drawer underneath them. I don't think it will be too hard to rig something to stop the sagging.

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