It was bitterly cold in Panamint overnight, sleep was fitful despite multiple layers and a good mummy bag. The morning was subzero and we huddled by a fire until the sun broke over the mountain range and began to take the chill off.
Breakfast at camp. Hard livin', eh?
Why carry chilled chardonnay, if not to wash down a fine breakfast of sausage, sautéed vegetables, and croissant? (perhaps this accounts for some of our late start today
Heading up the river that flows down Pleasant Canyon. This is a truly great ride up the first part of Pleasant. Fun, technical, scenic, lots of wildlife.
Not a great pic here (I only had a fixed-lens camera) but this is one of the many herds of feral donkeys that now roam around Death and Panamint Valley, left behind to fend for themselves after the mines closed down.
Nearing the top of Pleasant Canyon, as the snow began to accumulate. What other place in the world can you start at 75 degrees on the valley floor, and shortly thereafter, be navigating six inches of snow cover on the trails?
A short "rest" break.
A very challenging steep climb up to the summit of Rogers Pass, which was thick with snow and very slick.
Heading down to try and locate the trail down South Park Canyon back to the Panamint Valley floor. We'd elected this time to roll without GPS's to try and recapture the "adventure" part of riding. We had paper maps and our iPhones, and it sure made for some adventure, as we had to navigate many sections of divergent trail up on the ridge before gradually finding the one that seemed to head in the right direction.
Gorgeous view down towards a high meadow enroute to South Park Canyon. We were a bit anxious about not finding the trail at this point, as it was getting late in the day, so this was a welcome sight.
World class views.
Down in the meadow pictured earlier. This was one of my favourite spots of the ride.
High up in South Park, Wes is hanging out on a rock butte that dropped several hundred feet below. Crazy man.
Nearing the end of a great day
Yours truly, catching some late afternoon sun just north of the South Park canyon cabins.
This loop was one of my all-time favourite dirt rides. It's hard to imagine a more diverse, beautiful, challenging, and gratifying section of trail.
Tomorrow, we head over to Echo Canyon and loop back through the Chloride Cliffs, and again, are caught out late, late in the day!