Shakedown Run to Trona Pinnacles

Shakedown Run to Trona Pinnacles


Back in January, we finally found the time to get out and give our new-to-us 2004 GX470 a shakedown run. We purchased it in August of 2020 and spent the next few months getting necessary work done (both on the truck and unrelated). And since there’s no better time than winter to hit the California desserts, we opted to head out to Trona Pinnacles to see what it’s all about.

We arrived around noon on Saturday (we only had time for a quick overnight) and the area was reasonably busy, especially up near the main parking area. We opted to drive around a bit and learn the area before scoring ourselves a primo campsite in an elevated bowl surrounded by the infamous pinnacles for which the area is named.


We spent some time wandering the area before unloading camp. Trona is truly other-wordly (and I believe has been used for a number of movies).


We set up camp, including our new camp table and chairs as well as our old Mountain Hardwear tent. Coming from a youth spent backpacking and mountaineering where every ounce counted, having amenities like a table and chairs felt like a luxurious change of pace. Unfortunately, we also discovered that after a solid 25 years or so of service, our tent is getting rather tired. That put us on the hunt for a new one.

Dinner consisted of seafood paella which was utterly delicious, but also not terribly easy to cook on my tiny Snow Peak backpacking stove. (Add a dual burner stove to our list of must-have items to purchase!) After filling our stomachs, we were treated to a stellar sunset across the desert — and some plunging temperatures. The low during our visit was about 28°.


After some time spent around the campfire, we turned in for the night and crashed out on our Sea to Summit dual sleeping pad for the first time. It proved comfy, if a little time consuming to inflate.

The following morning dawned cold and clear affording excellent views across the desert.


We fired up the stove for coffee and some breakfast before taking our time to leisurely pack up. This was our first trip out with the prototype GX Basecamp platform, and overall it worked out very, very well. There were a couple of changes to be made (which have since been integrated into the build manual that’s available today) to allow for more height under the platform. Other than that, we were thrilled with the performance.


After repacking the GX, we spent a little time exploring the roads further into the pinnacles area before hitting the road back to LA. All in all, a much needed escape and a successful test run of our new equipment and platform build.

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