I recently did an enjoyable family trip to Death Valley from Feb 16-20. We stayed at Stovepipe Wells village for our lodging. I hadn’t brought my son (now 8 years old) to Death Valley during the past 2 years, so it was nice to bring him again. And I bought a new annual pass for 2021. (Please everyone make sure you pay your entrance fees when visiting to help support the park and follow the regulations.) For our 5 days of hiking, we did Double Bridge & Squeeze Slot, Marble Canyon, Tunnel Bridge & White Slickenside, Phinney Pass, and the Crystal Hills high point (which was my 51st Death Valley peak summit). I also laid the groundwork and did some advance filming for my upcoming feature-length film “Grapevines Solo: Death Valley Adventure 2” which will be coming this spring. Here are a few photos from our family trip.
As I have received 5 different e-mails over the past week in regards to the future of this site, I thought I would make a post and address the issue. The e-mails all mentioned that someone had offered to take over hosting of this site and keep it online indefinitely. As I mentioned in passing about one month ago, my plans are to remove the site from the internet sometime between 2021-2023. And that is still the plan. I don’t know exactly when I will do so, but at some point I will give one week’s notice and take down the site for good. Before I do so, I will go through and convert all of my site pages and hiking reports to PDF form for safekeeping to preserve everything I have done. This will allow me to share what I have written with my son as he gets older and also to provide a copy to the NPS for their records and future use. The last three years have been the most difficult of my life personally as I have dealt with quite a few challenging issues including battling two different forms of cancer. As of my latest scans and x-rays, my body is currently all clear and there is NED (no evidence of disease). But at some point over these past few years, I totally lost interest in writing up new hiking reports and maintaining this site. It became burdensome to me, rather than the joy that it once was. And the site does need regular updates in order to work properly on the latest phones and tablets, and also to keep the slideshow software current. But I cannot let someone else take over hosting and preserve my site online. For one thing, I have a lot of personal photos of my family, friends, and NPS staff members within my hiking reports. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving those up somewhere else on the internet. And I don’t have permission from others to allow their photos to be posted somewhere else either. Thank you all for viewing my Death Valley site as such a valuable resource and using my information for the past 15 years or so. It has always meant a lot to receive the thoughtful e-mails in regards to how helpful the site has been and to even be spotted and recognized by members of the public when I am out and about in Death Valley thanks to the site. And I especially treasure having gotten to know and spend time with Death Valley park staff. As stated before, I will soon look for a way to put a lot of my discovery and adventure hiking information into book form so that it is not lost forever. I expect it will take me about a year to put all that information together, but it will be fun to do so. Take care, everyone.
I have decided to return to Death Valley this spring to film a sequel to “Last Chance Solo” in another mountain range, as I have come up with a 4-to-5 day backpacking route which will showcase some incredible Death Valley scenery. I will share more details about that after the backpacking trip has been completed.
And a brief update on the film festivals. “Last Chance Solo” was chosen as an Official Selection for 4 of the 5 film festivals that it was submitted to so far. It has already been an Award Winner (Silver Award for Documentary Film), Award Winner (Award of Merit for Best Indie Feature), and received Honorable Mention (the 2nd highest award) at three of the festivals. So it is doing very well. And there are several more to come. Once these festivals have run their course a couple of months from now, I will go ahead and release it for all to enjoy. You may enjoy reading this advance review of the film provided by Steven Clark (known to many as Death Valley Dazed).
“One of the foremost explorers and videographers of Death Valley National Park, Steve Hall’s “Last Chance Solo: A Death Valley Adventure” captures an enthralling six-day adventure through some of the most isolated and least-visited portions of the national park. Steve takes meticulous care in setting up his cameras to record his adventure from dawn to dusk even capturing the nighttime constellations and a shooting star.
Steve sets the example of “safety first” with detailed narrations of his route choices in the context of great panoramas of The Last Chance Range, The Saline Valley, The Racetrack Playa and over the Inyo Mountains to the Sierra Nevada. For added suspense and anticipation some “special guests” join Steve on his summit of Grandview Peak. Anyone who does video blogs will appreciate the extra efforts Steve has taken to shoot and edit this outstanding adventure with his brother Lowell creating much of the soundtrack.
Steve’s passion for all things Death Valley is evident with his eagerness to share his “Last Chance Solo” with as many photographers, desert rats, geologists, history buffs, hikers and national park fans as possible with this smooth-flowing, evenly-paced production.”