Earlier this month, a group of intrepid EarthCruiser owners and EarthCruiser Adventure staff
ventured deep into the backcountry of Death Valley National Park. Our mission was to provide
feedback for the new EarthCruiser Adventure program, to share our skills and knowledge with
each other, and to enjoy the beauty of this magical landscape.
Over five days, we experienced some of the park’s iconic sights, such as the Racetrack,
Ubehebe Crater, Titus Canyon, and the Eureka Dunes. The capabilities of the EarthCruiser and
Terranova vehicles meant we could also explore some of the less frequented sections of the
park. Together we conquered deep sand, narrow canyons, steep drops, and rocky passages.
Our vehicle’s self-sufficiency meant we could wind our way through the park’s north without the
need to resupply. We rarely encountered other people on our drives. Undeterred by signs
warnings of deep sand and lack of services, we navigated through the backcountry to take in
sights few can say they’ve experienced.
Death Valley boasts incredible geological formations but also delicate wildflowers and
endangered wildlife. Home to the lowest point in North America, it is flanked by the towering
Sierra Nevada. They provided a snowy backdrop to much of our journey, even while we soaked
up the heat of the desert from the valley floor.
As our group wound their way around Hunter Mountain, we were treated to flowering Joshua
Trees and hills dotted with purple lupine. Curious burros and bright yellow kingbirds visited our
camp near a desert hot springs one night. Each evening we looked up in wonder at a field of
stars, the kind only visible in a place worthy of a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park designation.
Honing our marshaling and communications skills, we made our way down the notorious Steel
Pass and Dedeckera Canyon. Fighter jets buzzed by as we worked as a group to problem-solve
the canyon’s tricky drops. Every vehicle emerged undamaged and victorious, and we celebrated
our success over a final group meal and toast at the base of towering dunes. In the morning, we
departed in convoy, dreaming of future adventures together. The only evidence left behind was
a rainbow-hued pot at Teakettle Junction for the next group to discover.