Taking Children into Saline Valley ?

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Backcountry Explorer
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Taking Children into Saline Valley ?

Post by Backcountry Explorer » Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:27 pm

Just double checking my own sanity/wisdom about bringing a small child into the Saline Valley on an upcoming trip. Is this wise a thing to do ... ? has anyone else done it? Any advice ?

I need to reassure my wife, and myself to some degree, that is is not a crazy idea.

About me and our trip ...

I am no novice in the desert backcounty. I have been traveling the backroads of Death Valley for nearly a decade. I have been to the Racetrack, Hidden Valley and Eureka Valley before. We have even taken our daughter far into Cottonwood Canyon (at least 20 miles) from a paved road.

We have a high-clearance 4X4 in good working condition. I have two full size spare tires and know how to change them. I even have a patch kit. I plan on taking 20 gallons of water and several days worth of food for a weekend trip of my wife, my dad, me and my daughter (2).

There will be at least one but possibly 2 other vehicles on this excursion and, therefore, several more adults. One of the guys who is signed on has over 20 years of offroad expereince. He builds and supports race vehicles for the Baja 1000 among other things.

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bucyouup68
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Post by bucyouup68 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:22 pm

Sounds like you are prepared, I say go for it.

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ccv
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Post by ccv » Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:27 am

Start 'em young, and teach them love of the desert and respect for it, and how to behave out there and what to watch out for and you'll be fine. We have friends that kept saying "She's almost old enough to go camping or off roading..." and so far as I know now that she's 16, they still haven't taken her. I'd start 'em as soon as they were born.
Cecile
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Tracker
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Post by Tracker » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:25 pm

Start 'em young, and teach them love of the desert and respect for it, and how to behave out there and what to watch out for and you'll be fine.
My feelings exactly. If you go to the hot springs though, you may have to explain why the boys are holding hands. :shock:

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Children

Post by greatbasinguide » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:07 pm

My children started going to Saline Valley as very young children. By the time my son was in fifth grade and the boys pulled out girlie magazines to oogle, he said the fifth grade equivalent of , "ain't no big deal"

He first came down Lippincott mine road in his car seat, first came through Steele Pass in his car seat

He is 26 now.

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Alkali Bill
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Post by Alkali Bill » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:46 pm

Been passing through there for more than 30 years. Great place. Kids thought it was pretty cool.
Cheers,
Alkali Bill

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ahamacav
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Post by ahamacav » Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:44 pm

You couldn't do any more to prepare except maybe pack 'em in cotton. Do it.
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gedstrom
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Post by gedstrom » Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:57 pm

Tracker wrote: My feelings exactly. If you go to the hot springs though, you may have to explain why the boys are holding hands. :shock:
Here in Los Angeles, Vista Del Valle Drive in Griffith Park was closed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake and has been closed ever since although the roadway damage was not extensive. It was a very popular "Lovers' Lane" for guys to take or meet boyfriends.

Gary

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Post by D.A. Wright » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:26 am

I first came through @ 4 years of age on the back of my Dad's Matchless holding on for dear life about 1957. With what you are describing, it sounds to me that you understand the risks, are prepared, and plan to embark in fine shape to enjoy and take on the unexpected if it should arise.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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Tracker
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Post by Tracker » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:04 pm

The most dangerous thing for kids is to be kept in town and shielded from the world so that they are "protected". Take 'em everywhere you go and teach 'em everything you know. There's no greater reward for a parent than watching what happens when you do this. :idea:

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:42 am

Both of my kids have grown up as desert rats. My daughter didn't get to the Mojave till she was 3 (my first real trip) but my son was out there before his first birthday. Imagine a kid who likes to put sand in his mouth on the Stovepipe dunes!

Sometimes my daughter was nervous out there, but she grew into quite a hiker and we did some wild adventurous hikes together, just the two of us.

I always figured the most dangrous part of the trip was the drive to the airport in Boston...

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Post by rockgarden » Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:07 pm

I don't even see why/how your wife could question you. It seems like you are WELL prepared for the conditions that might be encountered and have thought out things well in advance. You should have everything covered, just watch out for what she might pick up and put in her mouth while walking.(lots of pretty rocks)

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Post by Tkb » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:46 pm

Saline Valley is pretty tame and safe compared to many of the other trips you could do in DV. It's a well travelled road, the springs are kid friendly (there were two couples with young kids there while I was there a few weeks ago) and the campground has a host with emergency communicatins if necesarry. I think it's the perfect place for a trip with kids.

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Thanks for the encouragement ...

Post by Backcountry Explorer » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:08 am

We did indeed take our daughter into the Saline Valley this past weekend. Thank you all for the words of encouragement. Miss Emily had a wonderful time. She especially loved the waterfall in Keynote Canyon (sp?).

I must say my reactions were mixed. It is a beautiful area for sure and we had gorgeous weather. I'd love to go back and spend a week.

However, for me the Saline Valley represented the largest, contiguous block of unpenetrated terrain I had yet to explore in the California desert. I had heard many tales of its remoteness and "middle of nowhere" feel. I was a bit shocked to find myself in traffic on the ride in. We passed or were passed by at least a dozen cars on the northern approach. We saw cars and lights scattered about the valley at night.

The springs looked overused ... "camped-out" if you will. There had to be 50 or more people in various camps around the two springs. We saw at least 15-20 people lounging around on the "lawn" on Saturday. Again on the ride out over the south pass, a steady stream of cars and motorcyles were seen going in both directions.

I realize that by visiting, I am part of the congestion that I decry. I also realize that there are times of the year when you could reasonably expect more solitude. I guess the time I chose to visit was not one of them.

You will see and hear more from me in the coming months. I am developing a thesis topic for my graduate degree that takes into account some of the observations I made on this and other trips to remote areas of California. Perhaps I can cull some words of wisdom from some of you on the topic.

Pics to follow in a day or two ... thanks again.

Rob

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Morrie
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Post by Morrie » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:19 am

I usually visit the springs in May, and by that time there might be a few people here and there, but encountering another vehicle on the road is fairly rare. I don't think I ever saw another vehicle in either direction on the road between Eureka Dunes and the springs in mid-May. But don't tell anyone.

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