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  • Writer's pictureSusanne Bruesch

Cycling into Death Valley Left us Freezing


Nothing had prepared us for the ride into Death Valley. Coming from the North leaving Mono Lake, we were expecting sand, hot desert sand. Little did we know then that we would end up freezing.

We start the ride over Hwy 395 to Big Pine on the flat until we reach the hills. Here the soil turns to sand and the only vegetation is bushes and flowers. The path leads us steady uphill to over 3000 ft / 1000 meters in elevation. The higher we get, the more chilly the air, which is heavy with clouds.

Just when we reach the top, the rain starts, worse than any we got before. Quickly what had promised to be a beautiful downhill ride turns into a freezing event.

Despite the cold we notice the landscape changing around us. Cactuses grow bigger the further down and south we get.

Suddenly, an amazing view opens up. We are looking into the Death Valley. Forgotten are my freezing hands and feet - I could not feel them anymore anyway - but with the with the camera in my hands awe makes me forget the pain.

Another 4000 ft / 1300 m downhill and we arrive on the flat. Ahead of us stretches a perfectly straight road that looks like it leads to the other end of the valley in no time. How wrong we were... We ride and ride and ride, yet we are nowhere near the other end of Death Valley at nightfall.

We find ourselves a nice spot, set up the camp and cook. After a day full of surprises and constant change, it is time to wind down. Cheers to Edward Noble who provided us with two bottles of wine as a gift. Now is the moment to open them and toast on the birth of baby Benjamin, my newborn nephew. Happy Birthday! An unforgettable evening.

Riding data:

Distance: 76,7 km Av. speed: 26 km/h Energy consumption: ca. 640 Wh Riding mode: High Uphill: 1070 m Downhill: 1330 m Surface: Asphalt road, paved road

Weather: partly cloudy, later rain and cold Accommodation: wild camping in Death Valley, just before park entrance from the North

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