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Trials and Tribulations - Death Valley National Park | by JTBaskinphoto
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Trials and Tribulations - Death Valley National Park

After shooting at the Racetrack the afternoon before, (see my previous post here ) I headed into the valley so that I would be closer to Badwater for the sunrise. So after another couple of hours worth of washboards and gravel, I arrived at the campsite in Stovepipe Wells. What followed would be the harshest night of camping I have ever endured and hopefully will ever endure. I noticed the winds picking up but thought nothing of it. After all, this is Death Valley and I did come with hopes of shooting dust storms. I pay my fee and start setting up my tent. As they say - "this wasn't my first rodeo" and I managed to get the tent up and staked to the ground with little difficulty. Then as I start to pull out my fly the winds picked three fold and the dust started flying. A few seconds later my tent was pulled out of the ground and blown into the site a few spots over and luckily came to rest, rather roughly I might add, against a fellow campers tent. So at 11:30 PM I am trying to quietly pry my tent off of my neighbor's and get it back to my pad. This time I decide that if I stake it down and throw all of my gear in there it can't possibly go anywhere. Well I was kind of right. Once again, while trying to pull my fly over it, the stakes pulled up. Only this time my pack was to heavy for the wind to carry it away so I was left with a twisted heap of a tent and two bent poles! At this point I am getting really frustrated and I am covered in sand and I only have about five hours left to get some sleep. So now I am not messing around. I find four boulders large enough that I can barely carry them and place them at the four corners of my tent, then tie the tent poles to them. Finally it seems to be staying- kind of. Now I get the fly over it with relative ease and proceed to crawl inside. At first glance I got really upset and thought I messed up because I was sitting on the ground and my sleeping pad and bag were gone. But I soon realized that they weren't gone at all, just buried. During the fiasco of trying to pitch my tent no less than 3 inches of sand had accumulated on the floor of my tent. Figuring that I had already lost the battle plus taking my fly off and dumping out my tent was not an option, I instead dumped the sand off my matt and bag then tried to get some shut eye. At least I could still still win the war against Death Valley that weekend and luckily the war had just begun...


©2012 Taylor Baskin ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Taken on March 17, 2012