Color Washed and Cold Nights: New Years in Death Valley

Over the years, I’ve developed a bit of a phobia for being social during celebrated holidays. It’s not an anti-social behavior because I enjoy the company of friends. It’s the waves of party-goers, long lines, and crowded parties that pushes me out to the vast landscapes. Since moving to Los Angeles, this has only been heightened. I cannot sit inside this plane of tarmac, so my go-to escape during said events has been the wilderness. This year, Halloween, Christmas, and New Years were spent car camping. You know that thing where you can bring a bunch of shit that you normally can’t tow during bicycle camping outings. Now, I know this is a cycling blog and I’m a cyclist but I’ve learned in my years of riding non-stop all year that time off the bike is great for both your mind, body, and chamois contact spot. Everyone needs a couple of days off, so why not spend them hiking, and enjoying the outdoors?

Load'em up!

These past few trips, I’ve enjoyed the company of my friend Cari, a photo stylist, and sign painter. She shares my love of the outdoors, also has a Tacoma, and is inseparable from her buddy Max. We’ve spent time in the Mojave together before and so when I mentioned going to Death Valley for New Years, the reaction was what I expected.

Last splash of light and color.

Now, the colors in the desert this time of year are amazing. The best on Earth, ATMO. December light cascades across the multi-dimensional surfaces and are heightened by the power of nature’s funkiest fungi. If you get what I mean… Needless to say, we spent the days enjoying natural chemicals, hiking, shooting (a lot) of photos, and snacking from our day packs. All while obsessing over textures and colors.

We were, uh.. frosty in the 15º weather.

The nights however… Well, we froze our asses off in the back of Cari’s Tacoma, awaking each morning to an in chrysalis ice cave of a camper shell. With lows of 15º and highs of 50º, Death Valley, even in the winter is not a destination for the weather-weak.

Last light

Four days, three nights, 5gb of photos later, and we were both sated. I had a few ideas for future rides in Death Valley and a new found respect for the vastness that is the Mojave.

Enjoy this gallery of warmth, colors, and fun, brought to you by mother nature.