This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard of happening here. But we still must charge you a $10 entrance fee. – NPS Ranger, Death Valley National Park
He did it. Chase Norton did it.
If you recall, Chase Norton set out just eleven days ago to tackle a 228-mile trek across Death Valley. He set out solo, fully self-contained, prepared to endure marathon-plus mileage.
I just received a note from Chase himself. The email came through at 9:18pm EST. Below is the email in its entirety. Takes about four minutes to read through. Chase, we salute you, sir!
Final Statistics: 10 days; 226.32 miles; 479,919 steps
I write this out as my last email of a successful journey throughout this incredible region of the world. Last night ended what has been the most difficult but rewarding adventure of my life, pushing myself beyond what I even thought was possible and discovering how truly powerful we as humans are. Moments of doubt and indecision creep into the brains of most attempting large feats but during these times are when I reached deep and pushed through to be smiling at the end of the day knowing the mental mountains I had just summited.
Two nights ago when I was atop Telescope peak and a strong wind storm destroyed my camp, shelter and scattered many of my items, for once in this long journey I was lost. It was near 0 degrees not factoring in wind chill and I was now completely unprotected. I stopped, let the fear take over for two minutes, then gathered myself and set to figure out how I would survive that night. The personal growth through hardship which occurred throughout the sleepless night will help to define and align myself into the future.
When the sun rose, I put on my shoes and quickly packed up to finish my journey and get down from this elevation. The summit of the Panamint Range is very interesting. Very narrow at most sections with jagged snow covered rocks. One often decides to either walk directly on the true summit or down slightly on the more broad western side if possible. The snow at some portions was waist deep and required rolling out of it similar to what I might imagine quick sand to be. I reached a peak needed to connect with a saddle and from there I let gravity and snow help while I slid down many portions with my ice axe as my brake. At the middle of a saddle, I dropped down into Water Canyon via a scree slide/dry stream. The dry stream was choked with huge dead trees and going was slowed until I reached a fast flowing stream and known path out to Panamint City. Old buildings, tall chimney and remnants of previous backpackers were scattered across the landscape. Knowing my ride was waiting in Ballarat I picked up pace and headed down Surprise Canyon. This had the most water ive come to find in DV National Park. Waterfalls and deep pools of waters were with me along the remainder of my hike. The sun set slowly as I ran out of the canyon and out onto a dirt road heading in the direction of Ballarat. Around 7pm I notice a distinctly newer car than those surrounding it near an old jail building. With a jovial “Hey, I’ve been looking for someone whose been hiking around for a while” and a smile, Hawkins opened the door and with that ended a chapter to a grand adventure.
I want to thank the many people involved in this trek. My parents for their love, support and concern enough to constantly monitor my progress. My Uncle and Aunt who took me into their home and treated me like a son then brought me to the start line of our journey. Olivier for his incredible mind and visions by bringing this idea of a DV trek to the table and allowing us to work it out to make it is what we have done. Him and I look forward to the videography and photography our team will provide in the future. Hawkins for her tireless effort and devotion to our team. She has been the one relaying my sat com messages to this great list of supporters and then replaying your messages back.
And of course, lastly to you all. This was funded, supported and motivated by most everyone on this list. From loving family members to simple adventure enthusiasts, I want to thank you for being apart of this moment in time. When I get my hand on a computer I will be writing back to each and every person who emailed me.
Tonight I sit in Panamint Valley. The sun has set and the full moon is rising. My time here is only half done but for once I feel complete peace and happiness.