Day 4 – Beatty, NV to Homestake Dry Camp

Monday Dec. 27th, 2021

Beatty – Titus Canyon Trailhead (6 mi – 8 mins)
Titus Canyon Trailhead – Red Pass (12.4 mi – 36 mins) {Possibly Closed}
Red Pass – Leadfield Ghost Town  (3 mi – 13 mins)
Leadfield Ghost Town – Scotty’s Castle Road (8.4 mi – 33 mins)
Titus Canyon Rd – Ubehebe Crater (27 mi – 44 mins) Lunch
Ubehebe Crater – Tea Kettle Junction (20 mi – 1.2 hrs)
Tea Kettle Junction – Racetrack Playa (6.8 mi – 27 mins)
Racetrack Playa -Homestake Dry Camp (3.1 mi – 13 mins) 

CAMPING Homestake Dry Camp

Totals: 93 mi – 4.3 hrs

As luck would have it Titus Canyon was closed, not simply taking the NPS sites word of it being closed we treked down the gated trail. Only wasting about 30 or 40 minutes we got back on the road and dropped into the park, and ran up the other end where Mandi grabbed a picture of what it ends like. We were disappointed but had more miles to log and pressed on for Ubehebe Crater.

We stopped to get a few photos (not feeling as energetic as the folks in the bottom), and then found the trail we wanted branched off just before the crater parking area, which had us going in a circle to get back to our trail. So off we went down a lovely washboard road (did I say lovely? More like hellish!), a note to those who don’t know airing down your tires and keeping your speed at the posted limits are two great ways to keep our trail and access open, bombing down them at full tire pressure is what causes the washboard. So please consider this on your next adventure.

So now we are on Racetrack Roadheading south from one of the northern most points in the park, our next stop Tea Kettle Junction. Rumor has it that many many moons before our visits this was a symbol telling folks water is ahead, although I’m really not sure which way it was ahead our direction (south) was taking us to a dried up lakebed known as Racetrack Playa. The turn takes you up into snow covered hills, we foundout the snow was quite deep as a couple pulled up in a rental jeep and I noticed they had a flat tire. After a quick inspection we found the puncture and attempted plugging it, no joy, so we traded it out for the spare, only after grabbing my tools, apparently the local rental company might have missed a few points on where everything (tools) is on said vehicle. We were able to use the jack but needed a star wrench to release the spare tire. The other posibility was that these folks might have recently partook in some medicinal herb smoking, as the vehicle had a distinct odor to it and the guy wasn’t really that helpful or aware. Anywho after swapping the tire I caused Mandi to miss her sunset shot on Racetrack Playa, although she took a chance anyway and got a few great photos, one or two of which you can enjoy above.

So now the race is on trying to beat the sun dropping and get to the Racetrack Playa, half way we pulled over as I thought I saw some of the moving rocks everyone talks about off across the dried lake so we grabbed photography gear and walk out almost 1/2 mile before realizing one some idiot had driven accross the racetrack, and two the “rocks” were only clumps of weeds. ARRRGH! So we sonter back to the Jeeps and press on towards camp just up ahead in the dark again. I couldn’t help but wonder if the idiot that drove out there might have stolen the moving rocks… Another 3 miles and we picked out our campsite for the night, it was getting cold fast, with temps said to be in the teens tonight. 

Death Valley - Day 4