A trip without a plan sometimes works out really well. On a rainy day, I'll drive a lot and end up in Panamint Valley instead of central Death Valley Park for the rest of my New Year's vacation.

Day 1: Mojave National Preserve to Hanuapah Canyon

Day 1: Mojave National Preserve to Hanuapah Canyon

42 photos

Today ends up largely being a scenic and relaxing drive up Highway 127 with many little stops along the way while I decide where to hike tomorrow.

Day 2: Hiking Hanaupah Canyon, Death Valley National Park

Day 2: Hiking Hanaupah Canyon, Death Valley National Park

46 photos

13.6 hiking miles with close to 2900 feet of elevation gain. Because the grade is gradual, constant, and in a canyon, it doesn't feel like I'm rising that much while hiking, but I am.

Day 3: Let's drive over to Death Valley's Hole-in-the-Wall

Day 3: Let's drive over to Death Valley's Hole-in-the-Wall

36 photos

It's a gloomy day, with rain drifting around in the area, so I stay in the FJ and keep driving. I happily end up at Death Valley's to Hole-in-the-Wall, though that wasn't the plan.

Day 4: A rainy day in Death Valley and Panamint Valley

Day 4: A rainy day in Death Valley and Panamint Valley

47 photos

I decide to enjoy the rain while driving the FJ instead of hiking as planned. My plan isn't to end up in Panamint Valley, but that's where I'll be by the end of the day.

Day 5: Hiking Big Four Mine Canyon, Death Valley National Park

Day 5: Hiking Big Four Mine Canyon, Death Valley National Park

81 photos

The rain has stopped, and it looks like a good hiking day! 5.5 miles round-trip on foot with about 1500 feet of elevation gain, relatively easy!

Day 6: Exploring the Nadeau Trail 4WD route with the FJ Cruiser

Day 6: Exploring the Nadeau Trail 4WD route with the FJ Cruiser

55 photos

I passed by the Nadeau Trail a couple of days ago and stopped to look around. Today I'm back to drive a segment of this 4WD route between the Panamint Valley and the Argus Range.

Day 7: Modoc Mine and Minietta Cabin, Argus Range

Day 7: Modoc Mine and Minietta Cabin, Argus Range

87 photos

From my Nadeau Trail campsite near the Argus Range Wilderness are many old roads to explore, so I choose a couple at random. I wasn't planning to visit this area, but am glad I ended up here!

Day 8: Hiking Dolomite Canyon

Day 8: Hiking Dolomite Canyon

85 photos

It's a chilly and gorgeous day for walking 14.5 miles round-trip with about 3500 feet of elevation gain up into Dolomite Canyon in a remote area of Death Valley National Park.