Travel Notebook: Eureka Dunes

Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park

Mountain dunes -- no one way to the top. In the pre-sunrise glow, the sands are an unremarkable gray-tan. The sum of the sands as Eureka Dunes does loom heavily on the background sky, obscuring the view of the buttes behind as the approach is made.

Several sand peaks (sand foothills?) must be ascended on the way to the crowning summit. Each of the smaller peaks offers a ridge on which you can gain access to the next. Quick and hard climbs are possible direct to th etop, but face it -- I have no water on hand.

Some peaks line up in a way that appear to give a direct approach, but you have to look for more than just the peaks. To paraphrase: "it's the summit, stupid." One must look for the ridges, the bridges from peak to peak. Go down to go up, left to go right. Keep the goal, the destination, in mind, and don't be hesitant to improvise the journey to suit.

Perhaps it's the journey, not the destination. Or both. Compromise.

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