31-Dec-1999 -- This remote confluence is located in
California's rugged Panamint Mountains, within Death Valley National
Park. However, people with high-clearance 4WD vehicles will be able to
reach this confluence without exerting any (human) energy: "Warm Spring
Canyon Road" climbs up from the valley to pass about 1 mile south of the
confluence, but just as the road crosses the longitude 117 degree mark,
another narrow gravel road branches off to the right. This road passes
within 1/4 mile of the confluence, which can then be reached with an
Not having a 4WD vehicle, however, I had to do this the hard way: on
my mountain bike. I parked my car about 6 miles up Warm Spring Canyon
Road (as the road started getting too rough to risk w/o a 4WD), and rode
my bike the rest of the way. This was a ride of about 10 miles each way
along rough gravel, with a 3000+ foot elevation gain.
Several abandoned mines can be seen along Warm Spring Road (see, for
example, photo 6). True to the road's name, there's also a 'warm
spring' at [35.96812,-116.93144], but the buildings here have fallen
into disuse, and the pool was empty when I passed :-(
This confluence is starkly beautiful in its isolation. It's clear
that very few of California's 30+ million residents ever pass this way.
It's always nice to be reminded there are some parts of California that
won't be turning into subdivisions and strip malls any time soon.
I visited this confluence on December 31st, 1999. Later that
evening, I celebrated the New Year at Death Valley's Furnace Creek
campground, secure in the knowledge that I'd earned it.