Charcoal Kilns side trip

After I left the western edge of Death Valley proper I continued west. Shortly after taking the photos in the post above this one I passed the 1,000 foot elevation marker, then 2, 3 and 4,000 feet. At that point I concluded I must have missed my turn. I wanted to turn left on a road which would take me out to the Charcoal Kilns.

I backtracked and figured out what had happened. Between the 1,000 and 2,000 feet markers I had stopped at a small rest area.


Without going into took much detail let’s just say I was releasing some of the copious amounts of water and Gatorade I had been drinking yesterday and today….

When I pulled back out on the road I looked left to make sure there wasn’t any traffic coming so I failed to see the sign:


The National Park Service generally does a great job marking roads, especially to landmarks. Well, they dropped the ball on this one. I had been keeping an eye out for Emigrant Canyon Road, a 26-mile road leading back to the former Charcoal Kilns, the major attraction at the end of that road. Well this sign only refers to Wildrose. Terrific. Even if I had seen the sign I wouldn’t have thought it was my turn. Wildrose is a small campground along that road, and it isn’t even called Wildrose Road. Any what about Thorndike and Mahogany Flat campgrounds? Why weren’t they included? And the sign doesn’t say boo about Charcoal Kilns.

Well, I drove back the road with the hope of seeing Charcoal Kilns. That hope was dashed when I learned that the final mile or two of the road are dirt and rock, a JohnBoy no go. I did try proceeding very slowly when I got past the “Pavement Ends” sign but it was just too rough and I didn’t want to take a chance ruining my relatively new Michelins, so after about a tenth of a mile I turned around.

Nevertheless I did get to see some pretty scenery, different from what I had been seeing the past few days.




This was a picture on an information sign which shows my intended destination:



This is one lone flower that was along the road at one spot:




And as I drove back out to the main road, this was my last look at Death Valley proper, way off in the distance. I was now over 2,000 feet up and the temperature, once I got away from the desert floor, was in the low 80’s. With a steady wind it was actually very pleasant.


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