2017: Dirt Roads of the Death Valley Territory
256 pages / 1 map / comprehensive assessment of dirt roads
backcountry briefings by steve greene
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – FIND THE ANSWERS HERE
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Thirteen hundred miles of dirt roads – an endless labyrinth of obscure trails – many not on any maps – most with no names – a few well-known, but most rarely traveled – easy to get lost without proper guidance – potential fatal consequences for those not prepared – a land full of ghosts from the past – laced with deep shafts of bats and rotting timbers – rain evaporates before it hits the ground – few will ever pedal a trike here, but thousands will drive a Jeep – a valley of poison gas and lost wagon trains – the hottest place on the planet – Would you enjoy a trip to hell? If so, you may wish to visit here first to get the hang of things.
ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE:
This immense Death Valley territory, largely contained within the borders of Death Valley National Park, is an explorer’s dream. It is laced with a hidden network of dirt roads, ranging from easy Class-1 roads to nearly impassible Class-5 rockways. More than 1000 miles of these unpaved trails are identifiable on maps, yet there exist more that are not officially marked. It is safe to say that roughly 1300 miles of adventure await a backcountry explorer who has sufficient motivation to go out and discover all of it. Clearly, this would require years of effort. Steve Greene has been exploring the Death Valley territory for sixty years, hiking, driving his Jeep, and now pedaling his human powered tricycle. Inside this book, he introduces the dirt roads of the alluring and remote Death Valley territory.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Purpose of this Dirt Road Book … 7
How to use this Dirt Road Book … 10
Introduction to the Territory … 12
Backroad Classification Guide … 21
BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS GUIDE … 28
Region One | Owlshead Mountains – 41
Region Two | Greenwater Valley – 48
Region Three | Southern Panamints – 58
Region Four | Funeral Mountains – 88
Region Five | Nevada Triangle – 102
Region Six | Grapevine Mountains – 112
Region Seven | Northern Panamints – 123
Region Eight | Saline Range – 140
112 DIRT ROAD BRIEFINGS … 158
Northern Section roads … 161
Central Section roads … 171
Southern Section roads … 184
Five Days of Dirt Road Adventure … 197
Expedition Preparedness Checklist … 234
DVNP Policy and Regulations … 249
Meet the Author … 251
Dirt Roads Locater Map … 256
Steve Greene first ventured into the rugged Death Valley territory in 1955, at the naive age of four, with his parents Bob and Joan, and his little sister Willow, who was only two. Prior to Steve’s birth, his father and mother first visited Death Valley in 1947 on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, staying the first night in Death Valley Junction, where they were issued a candle at the motel due to an electrical outage in the tiny community.
A lasting attraction for this strangely alluring land grew in Steve through many fun years of continued family visits, where camping outdoors at hot Furnace Creek was common. As happens with many who travel into the mysterious Death Valley region, Steve has repeatedly returned throughout his life, to a landscape that forever sings to his spirit. When in elementary school, Steve did reports about the mining and geology of the area, and built a plastic scale model of the twenty mule team. In high school, his parents bought him a large framed painting of the twenty mule team for his bedroom wall.
Steve is noted for his countless backcountry expeditions into the remote hinterlands of Death Valley National Monument and Park, beginning on his own back in 1975 when he purchased a CJ-5 Jeep and would lead friends into the wild country. His groups would probe the most secret corners, always seeking out the areas rarely visited by the big crowds, and hiking when the roads stopped. In more recent times, Steve has been found on Death Valley’s dirt backroads in a couple of other SUVs, blissfully roaming solo through the land that has become an inseparable part of his spirit. He always takes to foot travel whenever the opportunity presents itself, being a devoted long-distance hiker since his earliest years.
Ever continuing to define his environmental sustainability paradigm, Steve maintains a commitment to lessen his carbon footprint on the planet he loves to explore. A naturalist at heart, his current vehicle ownership is of a human-powered recumbent tricycle, built to tackle the same dirt roads he formerly drove in his Jeep. The trike emits no pollutants and increases driver physical fitness levels, while allowing the practical mobility to move freely among the wild places. He has not owned a petroleum-powered vehicle since 2008, but exploring the backcountry remains high on his “to do” list of activities.
Originally from southern California, on the cusp of the mighty Mojave Desert, he spent the first thirty-one years of his life in close proximity to the remote Death Valley territory. Later, he moved up to the towering San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, living in small rural towns hidden in deep forests 9,000 feet above sea level. There, he continued his explorations on the historic mining roads and trails of majestic Rocky Mountain peaks. Currently, Steve finds his peace at home in the rural Pacific Northwest woods. His regular visits to his mother and sister’s house near Death Valley National Park keep him in touch with his past.
Visit Steve’s Death Valley Journal for more about the realm.
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