It was January 2020, I had just graduated college and I felt free as a bird. After hanging out at the Deep Creek Hot Springs for a few days with Ari, I picked Ira up in San Diego, and we headed out to Death Valley. I parked my van at the south end of the Funeral Mountains and we hitchhiked up to Hell’s Gate where we would begin our trip.
This is a route by Pepperflake, he made a map here. It was getting late and we did not make it far on the first day, a few miles up the first canyon. Shortly into the second day, the class three bypass of the waterfall proved too much for Ira, and we parted ways. Ira and I planned to do some hiking together and some apart on this trip, so we decided that I would do this hike on my own, and we would meet back up to hike together in a few days.
The route was extremely beautiful and well thought out. Pepperflake did a great job with this one. It had a great mix of canyons, ridgewalking, ghosttowns and great views. There is a spring halfway along the ridge at Indian Pass.
Unfortunately, I had brought my Unihertz Jelly Pro along for this trip, and the battery was failing. I had used this phone for about a year, but it was starting to give out. At two oz. it was ultralight, but also ultra sketchy. The second I turned it on, it would drain from 100% to 0%. This was problematic when attempting an off trail route in Death Valley.
On the third evening of the trip, I was heading down the final canyon to get back to the car. As my phone had failed, I had a 50/50 shot between two canyons. I guessed wrong and found myself in Big Drop Canyon.
Big Drop Canyon has a 600ft dryfall, that I eventually made my way around after lots of sketchy scrambling. After that, there were some smaller dry falls which I also had to navigate. Bring a proper phone and stay on Pepperflake’s route.
I walked through the Hole in the Wall and saw some Big Horn Sheep Scampering around. Then a few miles across the desert to get back to the car. When I got to the van, Ira was nowhere to be found. I did find a $230 ticket in the car for illegal camping. I finally tracked down Ira. Turns out he had been camping in my car (which isn’t allowed since I was parked on a paved road). A ranger saw him and gave him a $230 ticket.
Ira and I did another hike together, out to Hidden Arch. We stayed together this time. The location of Hidden Bridge is not available on the internet, so I won’t share too many more details here.