Days 4 & 5 – Death Valley to Tecopa

On our final day in Death Valley, we hiked to the lowest of 9 Darwin Falls and enjoyed the cool waters attracting monarch butterflies.

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We ran into our new acquaintances from breakfast at Panamint Springs, Steve and Carlene. Steve’s mentor Robert Stebbins literally wrote the book on the Field Guide to Amphibians & Reptiles, and was so knowledgeable about how Death Valley became a national park.

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We checked into the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and being famished, went out hunting and gathering, and was attracted by the large sign, “Steaks and Beer” – which ended up being the actual name of the restaurant! Our server, Joe, brought us both, the best ribeye steaks that Maggie and I have ever had – seriously (thanks to chef Eric, who said he learned from French chefs who ‘yelled at him’…) – The secret: herb rubbed steaks with balsamic reduction, seared in a cast iron pan, then finished with red wine butter…

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In the morning, after a wonderful breakfast at McNeil’s Barbecue, where he sliced up our leftover steak that we could eat later in the car with toast from breakfast, we noticed the very picturesque laundromat and Ford pick-up across the street.

Our last stop before leaving the Tecopa area was to stop at the China Ranch, literally an oasis in the desert, where the current owners have planted date palms. Maggie and I sampled their renowned date shakes, vowing to hike off the additional calories when we got to Prescott…

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