Telescope Peak is the highest peak in Death Valley, and I wanna go stand on top of it. It's a 12.5 mile strenuous hike with a lot of elevation change (+3,254' total roundtrip elevation gain) - we'll have to climb 300 feet just to get to sea level. In addition, depending on road conditions, we may have to hike an extra 1 - 1.5 miles each way to get from the campsite to the trailhead. There is no water anywhere near the trail, so you'll have to carry your own. Definitely not a beginner hike. That being said, if you're in decent shape and want to try peak bagging, or add to your list of bagged peaks, this is probably a good one to do. 12.5 miles isn't horribly far, the weather should be decent, and no one's gonna judge you if you take all day or turn around early.
The plan: Leave early on the 15th - it's a long drive, but I'd like to leave early enough to get there in time to check out some of the park. Maybe do a short, flat hike after setting up camp, maybe just cruise around and take some photos, maybe just do our own thing cause we're sick of being stuck in a car with each other for hours on end. Death Valley is huge, and there's a bunch of cool stuff - if there's something you absolutely want to check out, this would be the time.
Early on the 16th - Hike up to the top of Telescope Peak. A few high fives, a lot of pictures, a summit beer if that's your thing (it's mine, for sure), and then...Turn around and hike back down. The rest of the time is yours.
17th - Pack up camp and head out. I wouldn't mind spending a few hours in the morning surfing the sand dunes, but if people aren't down with that then we'll just head back home or do something else.
Not gonna lie - this trip is gonna feel like "a lot." A day of strenuous hiking in the desert sandwiched between two very long days in a car. In addition, road conditions in Death Valley vary greatly, and we won't have much - if any - warning if a road we were planning on taking is closed, or limited to 4 wheel drive vehicles. The camping *should* be car camping, which affords us some added comfort, but if the road to the campsite is closed, that adds a 4 mile hike from the parking lot to the campsite, meaning we either give up or carry those extra comforts. A sense of humor coupled with a sense of adventure will go a long way on this trip. I have no qualms about telling anybody to quit their whining.
As for cost - there is no cost to camp at Mahogany Flats. There will be gas, maybe tolls, stopping for lunch on the drives, etc. There is also an entry fee to the park. I have a Park Pass to cover my vehicle, if no one else has one for a second vehicle then it seems only fair that we all split the cost - shouldn't be more than a few bucks. It should be low-cost, but there won't be any way of giving you a total amount until we get there, possibly until we return.