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2024 Trip Reports - Panamint Valley in January

Panamint Valley in January

Report and photos by Ingo Werk

The Panamint Valley is a long basin located east of the Argus and Slate ranges, and west of the Panamint range in the northeastern reaches of the Mojave Desert, in eastern California.This year in January I spent a good week there with a bunch of outdoorsy friends. We set up camp on a beautiful platform reachable only by 4x4 Low over a challenging rocky road. From there we had the million dollar view of the Valley, hiked, enjoyed trail drives, and I worked North and South America on my portable ham radio station. My friends came from as far North as Idaho, contributing recently processed elk meat, pheasant and duck for our desert gourmet delight. Three guys loved to cook and the culinary feast was second to none. During the day the weather was perfect but at night temperatures went down into the low 40s. I stayed in my Toyopet Camper and my dogs slept in the truck cab because we got nightly wildlife visitors. We were about a dozen guys and discussed a wide range of topics. Others stayed in their tents or vehicles. We had a mighty good time, having this January outing for about 30 years. Panamint Valley is the land for the free and the brave, without National Park restrictions like in adjacent Death Valley. Trona was the last place to gas up, one vehicle got stuck and rescued, one vehicle got a flat, and one vehicle got damaged. The rescue squad was right there, so no problem, just fun and games! Panamint Valley is just a wonderful destination! ~ Ingo

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