L2H Day 2 Part 1: Sea Level to 11,000 ft.

Oct 3, 2014, Shorty’s Well to spring in Tuber Canyon, 23 miles

“L2H: Where you’re hydrated and dehydrated at the same time.”

We wake up before dawn, it wouldn’t feel proper otherwise. The first order of business is to find the water source located in Hanaupah Canyon.

A 4wd track leads us to the base of Hanaupah Canyon, a butt crack of the Panamint Range. No, more like an artery. No maybe more like a gutter. I didn’t know it at the time but I’d come to appreciate these 4wd tracks, early morning temperatures, and shadowy canyons.

4wd track to Hanaupah Canyon from Shorty's Well. Take the left fork.
4wd track to Hanaupah Canyon from Shorty’s Well. Take the left fork canyon.

It’s October in Death Valley and you’d think the water was all dried up, but I’ve seen it and lived to tell you that it’s running free! Hanaupah spring flows strong and tastes way better than that bottled water folks is buyin up at the Walmart. I load up 4 liters for the climb to Telescope Peak. I don’t remember the last time I carried 4 liters of water. The weight feels burdensome in my frameless pack.

Immediately to the right of the spring you’ll climb up a steep scree covered slope. There is a very faint trail but it’s mostly cross country the whole way to the top. This is where the killer calf workout begins to Telescope Peak.



Faint trail

Follow the ridge line. It’s fairly straightforward. Go up! and up and up and up and up. If you think it’s too steep to be part of the route, you’re wrong. Your Achilles tendons are going to feel like fruit roll ups.

Looking back down to the Badwater Basin and Hanaupah Canyon

Soon you’ll get back to the land of trees. We took some shade breaks but it was still hot in the shade. Show off your bushwhacking scars and massive calves to your hiking partners.

Photo credit: http://instagram.com/carrotquinn?modal=true
Photo credit: http://instagram.com/carrotquinn?modal=true
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Near the top!

Closing in on the top I can feel it. I can only take five steps before I have to pause to catch my breath and rest my screaming Achilles. This climb carves out my ego and makes me confront it face to face. I confess, I am YOUR BITCH Panamints. I want to collapse. At this moment I realize what real hiking amounts to.


5 thoughts on “L2H Day 2 Part 1: Sea Level to 11,000 ft.

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