Hike up Surprise Canyon to Panamint City, Panamint Mountains, Death Valley National Park, California, October 2010
This hike was more strenuous than any of us anticipated, because of the thick brush, mainly in the vicinity of Limekiln and Brewery springs, that has overgrown about one mile of the 5.5 miles of road from Chris Wicht camp to Panamint City. The temperature hovering around 100 degrees and the elevation gain of 4000' in the 5.5 miles were also major factors. We intended to hike all the way on Friday afternoon, but because of a late start, the slow progress, and darkness coming on, we camped 100 m above Brewery Spring on Friday night, and walked the last two miles the next morning.
We had a look at the Panamint Hilton and decided it was too rank to use. Overflow cabin was not much better, although a new spigot above the filthy kitchen sink offered water that we thought would be better to filter. Both cabins need some serious maintenance. We slept outdoors until some light rainshowers commenced at 1:30 am and drove us onto the Hilton's porch and beneath the roof of the welding shop.
Three day hikers encountered us as we were making camp at Brewery Spring on their way down to Chris Wicht camp from Telescope Peak. We could not believe they would be able to find their way downstream in the dark through the brush we had just gone through. We encountered two day hikers on our way out on Sunday morning. They didn't think the brush was that awful and fully expected to be back at Chris Wicht by dark. We wished them good luck. We thought it was awful.
In summary, we made the round trip in 2.5 days, with a half day dwaddling in Panamint City, and were quite fatigued at the end of the hike. Fortunately the first day's heat mitigated during the next two days as the cloud cover increased toward showers at the end of the hike. We decided that we'll make this hike again only if and when some serious brush clearing is done by the BLM and NPS.
Click on the first image to begin, or click on any image to enlarge
Page 1 | Page 2 | | Panamint City Stone Walls | Return to Field Trips and Hikes