Eureka Dunes

5-6 May 2001 - by Eric Beck

Lori had been grumbling that we never camp any more. This is mostly true, we don't have to. Anyway, Saturday afternoon we went out to the Eureka Dunes in the northwest corner of Death Valley and right under DPS peak Sandy to the west. Dick and Judy Erb from June Lake accompanied us.

There is now a tiny campground right below the NW slope of the dunes with two tables and a bathroom where we stayed. I went running along the road to the east of the dunes and when I returned another vehicle had joined us which was sitting curiously low. It had three flat tires. The vehicle was a rental Ford Explorer with Firestone tires. Haven't we heard about this combination recently? The occupants were visitors from Japan, one apparently a well known photographer. Their purpose was to photograph snowboarding on the dunes. When I arrived Lori and Dick were busily phoning trying to find someone who would tow them out of there. It was amusing to listen to them explaining that there weren't any nearby cross streets.

Finally, Millers Towing from Lone Pine agreed to come out. They arrived at 9:30 pm with a huge vehicle. Rather than tow them, they fixed all the tires. The bill for this effort was $500, cheap in our opinion considering the distance, size of the vehicle and pay for two people. Remember Millers towing if you ever get in big trouble in this area.

Sunday we hiked up the dunes. Much of the way, the sand was wind packed and firm with easy walking. Some, especially on the steeper slopes was just sand. We traversed a long ridge line to what appeared to be the high point to the south. To descend, we dropped straight down the steeper west slopes. As the sand was sliding with us, it would emit a low frequency hum. I had heard of this phenomenon, but never experienced it. Driving north up Eureka Valley, we saw two American Avocets. These are shore birds and may have been way lost.

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