Gettin’ Hitched [no, really!]

It’s Official!

Chris officiates in style with tails and a lovely speech. (Vogel)

Mike and I were married on October 25 at a small sunrise ceremony held in one of our favorite desert places—Eureka Valley, a little visited corner of Death Valley National Park. Eureka gets very little traffic due to its remoteness and rough-road access.

The National Park Service describes it best:  Eureka Valley is an enclosed basin at 3000 foot elevation located northwest of Death Valley. The dunes cover an area only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, yet they are the tallest sand dunes in California, possibly the tallest in all of North America. They rise more than 680 feet above the dry lakebed at their western base. As tall as these dunes are, they are dwarfed by the impressive limestone wall of the Last Chance Mountains which rises another 4000 feet above the valley floor.

We walked through here in 2008 when we backpacked 425 miles from Bishop, CA to the southeastern part of Joshua Tree National Park, so this is a special place for us. As it was a second marriage for both of us, we wanted to keep things low key, and focus on a beautiful location that was important to us.

We did the paperwork at the Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, CA.

Bishop friends Chris Iversen and Todd Vogel were on hand for the short, simple ceremony—Chris officiated and Todd was the photographer. Bean, their Aussie dog, was probably the cutest member of the wedding party. We think we were the only four people (and one dog) in Eureka Valley that day, which made the day even more special.

We spent a few more days in the area, exploring other canyons and old mining sites, eating great food and drinking Prosecco under the stars.

Mike’s brother Steve and his wife Martha hosted a pre-wedding dinner at their place in King’s Beach, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. They also baked amazing and delectable sweets for us to travel south with.
Downtown traffic, Independence, as seen from the courthouse steps, with the snow-dusted East Side of the Sierra Nevada providing an impressive backdrop.
Chris picked flowers and greenery from her fabulous garden and successfully transported them to Eureka, saving them from a likely frost. (Iversen)
The 10 mile-long Eureka Valley road had just been graded, which made for smooth traveling. From here, the dunes are still four miles away.
Deluxe camping at the foot of the dunes.
These dunes are way bigger than they look from afar. (Vogel)
Walking up to the 700′ summit of the dunes in the early-morning chill. (Vogel)
At the summit, Mike and Bean wait … (Vogel)
… for the sun to make it over the mountains and start lighting the dunes! (Vogel)
We each say our piece … (Vogel)
It’s Official! Can you tell Bean is thrilled? (Vogel)
The floral decorations fit nicely in the wee pack.
A happy little crowd on the dunes!
Heading back down the sandy slopes in bright morning sun, with the steep, deep limestone canyons of the Last Chance Range looming behind.
We called these the “Star Wars Dunes” — smaller waves of sand at the far southern end of the valley. Dunes are endlessly interesting to observe as light and wind change. (Vogel)
Making it Officially Official: Chris signs the paperwork back at camp, with antipasto and Prosecco for edification.
Todd and Bean with the photographer’s gift of Pinot Noir.

We spent the next few days exploring canyons and old mine sites, and climbing dry waterfalls. You can read about further adventures here.

Panorama of the crest of the Last Chance Range in afternoon light. (Vogel)

2 thoughts on “Gettin’ Hitched [no, really!]

  1. Beautiful wedding scenery! And i remember the official Inyo-county aspect as well. Congratulations to both of you, and well-done to your photographer for documenting your day.

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