Friday in the late evening we went in via South Pass (lifted Toyota Tacoma 4X4 and a nearly stock FJ), turned to Hunter Mountain and camped up high. It was nearly cold but beautiful! No problems.
Saturday off to Hidden Valley to Teakettle Junction (left numerous kettles as is the way) and then down to the Racetrack. All those were freeway smooth or close. Then we went down the Lippincott which but for a few minor sketchy spots, seemed in the best shape it has been in for a while. Then we went up Saline Valley road, which has a few minor rocks and ruts to slow folks down. The road to the Springs was a little hard to follow and a tad bumpier than normal but it was fine – it was interesting to see the pieces of wood and debris from the water though.
Sunday we exited via Steele Pass. Though the path is harder to follow now, difficulty wise it is (to me) not much different than it always is. The section from the Springs to the top has medium sized rocks and takes a bit of time. Past that, it was pretty much the same as always in Dedeckera Canyon to Eureka Dunes - gorgeous. The road around the dunes was fine. The silty spots are hard and rutted. The road going toward Death Valley Big Pine Road is marked “Closed” at the road, but has no real damage.
Death Valley Big Pine Road is marked closed but has no damage from the west end all the way to the Dunes. There is no reason for Death Valley Big Pine Road or the road to Eureka Dunes to be closed in that area (it may be worse to the east).
The Springs were nearly empty. Good times.
We did a few hikes along the way, saw some things, enjoyed.
I brought two shower heads (Home Depot Model # 562-1). One was to fix the one at Palm Spring and the other to provide a spare. The shower head has a 1/2 “ IPS female connection. The plumbing at the shower has a male 3/8, which is too big for a standard shower head. So they need a 3/8 to ½ female to female bell reducer and a ½ close nipple to get it all to fit (I am not a plumber). Bring spares, so there is stuffthere for next time. I dropped the shower heads off with Lee. He was going to look and wanted me to return in the morning, but we left instead.
The platform at the shower is tilted up with rocks and sand but also kind of wedged in place. We didn’t have time to dig it out.
Most everything else s as it was. Some of the little trails to camp sites are gone and there are a few minor wash outs on the main trail. Some camp sites seemed to be missing.
On the way out Steele Pass we did not find the van. We had a plan to dig out a tire or two but didn’t see it. Maybe it was already retrieved or off someplace we missed.
We used 2 meter simplex but could hear someone else, switched to 440 and had the band to ourselves. Had great coms even when far apart. However, I forgot to test the repeaters up the 385. Ham radio off road and afoot is for sure the way to go!!!
No damage, no issues , great trip.