Monday 24 October 2016

Through the desert, Death Valley.

Alien worlds at the finish of this superb walk. This morning I woke alone in the desert watching the day awaken. This evening I'm half way up a hotel tower in Las Vegas. Outside there are searingly bright artificial lights. Thunderous music surges up from the street. In between these places I walked across the weird Death Valley playa, 280 feet below sea level, crunching through the salt crust, and then hitched two rides, both with very pleasant Canadians (thanks folks), to Furnace Creek and then Las Vegas, the latter mostly in heavy rain, the first of the trip.

Before this surreal last day I'd crossed the Inyo Mountains, walked through the Joshua tree forest of Lee Flats, then descended from the Darwin Plateau to pretty Darwin Falls, the first water in 55 miles. Then came restaurant food at the Panamint Springs Resort followed by a walk across the flat shining white Panamint playa and then along the valley and up to the Panamint Mountains and an ascent of Telescope Peak, at 11,048 feet the highest peak in Death Valley National Park. From the summit I looked over Death Valley itself, far below, and out to mountain ranges vanishing into the distance, perhaps the best view of the whole walk.

Now it's time to go home and see how the Cairngorms are getting on. In the meantime here are some pictures of the last week.


  1. What a great trip. Excited to hear more about how to deal with such dry areas which is quite outside my experiences.

  2. Passing through a Desert is really difficult for all the times. People who have a strong energy only can back from this death valley. Thanks for sharing such adventurous journey.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. How surreal to be in Vegas after your walk. Great photos as always.

    Thanks and welcome home.

  4. Hi, Chris Townsend, you are in Death Valley in this age, I am really surprised. With you best of luck. Wish I could do that such a journey. Chris Townsend would your please tell me what kind of tools are your using in this trip. Specially I want to know what kind of tactical knife your are using?

    1. I've written a piece on the gear I used for The Great Outdoors. It'll appear in the January 2017 issue and later online. I'm not sure what a tactical knife is - I took two knives. A Leatherman Micra, mainly for the excellent scissors, and the ToolLogic SL3, which was mainly used for cutting cheese!