December 28 2015
It's been some 9 years since I rode the Death Valley Encounter endurance ride. It was good to be back on some of these old rugged, challenging trails.
Though the ride no longer actually goes inside the park, the scenery is still exceptional, particularly of the Panamint Range. The old history of the area is fascinating, and the Slate Range and the Panamints (indeed the whole area around here) are dotted with abandoned gold and silver mines.
I was terrifically grateful to be riding in the winter and not the summer! We actually had cold enough morning temperatures (21* to 31*) to wake up to a couple of inches of ice on the water buckets. Days were sunny and cold, horses were fresh and strong. We rode the 50 milers on Days 1 and 3.
I rode my pal Jose, with Steph on Smokey, Gretchen on Coquette, and Peggy on Zane.
Here's a taste of some photos from Day 1:
Starting out with long shadows on a 21* morning
Climbing the Slate Range, with the Panamint Valley below and Panamint Mountains beyond
In the Panamint Valley, looking toward the Panamint Mountains
Riding along the ancient Lake Panamint, now a dry lake bed, with the fascinating Panamint Mountains beyond.
Climbing back up the Slate Range out of Panamint Valley
Steve Bradley took this fabulous photo of us cresting the Slate Range in the morning.
Day 2 coming soon, and more photos and story at: