Monday, September 26, 2022


Death Valley Encampment packs in the RVers

Notice how few towables there are. Fifth wheels were practically unheard of then. No slide outs, either.

By Chuck Woodbury
I took this photo about 35 years ago in Death Valley at Sunset Campgrounds, across from the Furnace Creek Oasis, during the Death Valley Encampment. The annual get-together benefits the Death Valley ’49ers. It’s coming up this year November 4-10. I urge you to attend.

The week-long Western heritage festival includes old-time and western-style music, historic character reenactments, history presentations, an Invitational Western Art Show, craft show, golf tournament, wheelbarrow race, a pioneer costume contest, 4X4 tours, wagon train and horse parades.

The Fiddler’s Stage at Furnace Creek Ranch and other locations around the National Park offer a wide variety of entertainment all week long. Here you’ll find yodelers, cowboys, and the popular Coyote Howl open-mic performances, and fiddlers — amateurs and professionals.

For many years the Burro Flapjack Sweepstakes held at Stove Pipe Wells was one of the most popular events. Attended by several thousand people, regulations eventually required this event to be replaced by the Prospectors Race and the Wheelbarrow Race. I vividly remember attending as a little boy.

The Death Valley ’49ers is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to expand public awareness of Death Valley. It has no headquarters office, equipment, vehicles, paid staff or employees, and receives no government or other funding.

I suspect the Sunset Campground is still just as packed with RVs during the event as it was when I took this photo. Somewhere in that photo is my small motorhome. Finding it is like playing Where’s Waldo?

The Old West Trio performs under star-filled skies.

Learn more about the upcoming Encampment by clicking here.


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3 years ago

Ive been to this a couple of times and it is a real Hoot. Just Real Fine Folks getting together for some great music and pretty darn clean fun. Well worth the effort to go and Western music you might even recognize. R.

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