Gear West USA National Parks

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
cplittleton Regular Member • Posts: 401
Re: Water

I had the opportunity to do a 1/2 day (very rushed) scouting trip through Death Valley NP a few weeks ago (early April).  I ate lunch (with a large drink) in Pahrump, NV & stopped in one of the local supermarkets for water before going into the Park.  At the store shelf, I waffled between a 4-pack of the common 1-liter bottles (just over a gallon) and a 6-pack of the larger 24-oz bottles (2 gallons).  Based on all the warnings I read online, I bought the 6-pack and left for the Park.

In Death Valley, temps were in the high 70s at elevation and high 80s in the valleys while I was scouting.  I did not venture more than 1/2 mile or so from the car (more photo walks than hikes) since I was traveling alone.  I found myself opening the fourth bottle of water as I was driving southwest out of the park at dusk.  In other words, I would have not had enough water if I bought the 4-pack of smaller bottles.  This was April, and the car thermometer never hit 90.

My scouting trip taught me to plan water for what I think I will need, and then multiply by at least 2 (maybe 3?) based on forecasted conditions.

FYI, I still had one unopened bottle when I got back to the Las Vegas airport the next day - the folks at the rental car return area were happy to take my leftover bottle and put it in their fridge for the next hot day.  I also know that if I stumbled across a dehydrated park visitor, I could have shared a bottle and not left myself short.  This is a case of you can't have too much of a good thing.

From the photo perspective, I took my 70-400 lens off the camera at my first stop (Dante's View) and went to my 16-80 lens.  After that, the 70-400 only came out twice - once for a few rock pattern detail shots at Zabriskie Point (taken around 150mm) and once for a distance / scouting shot in the pullout for the Mesquite Flat sand dunes (at 400mm so I didn't have to actually walk to the dunes alone at dusk).  I even pulled out my P&S for it's panorama mode a few times - my dSLR and 16-80 lens couldn't handle these without some huge crops.  You might bring the long lens if you want it for other parts of your trip, but I wouldn't expect you to find it very useful in Death Valley based on my trip.

Artists Drive, Death Valley NP


 cplittleton's gear list:cplittleton's gear list
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony SLT-A77 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM Nik HDR Efex Pro +2 more
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