Flash floods, closed roads, and thunderstorms. Is this really Death Valley? Well, that is how the trip started but not how it ended. We have had an amazing time exploring what we can, given the circumstances. My aunt and uncle have been coming here for years, and said we have had more excitement then they ever have.
Day 1, we started off our visit to Death Valley with a tour of Scotty’s Castle, which was a very good thing because the Visitor Center is now under 2′ of mud and debris as well as inaccessible due to a washed out road. Our next stop was going to be Ubehebe Crater but that is when we found about a dozen people stranded on the other side of a flash flood where they spent the next 24 hrs with a ranger before they could be rescued.
Our second day started with a jaunt to Zabriskie Point and ended with a 5.5 mile round trip hike down to Badwater via Gower Gulch and back up 780′ Golden Canyon which crosses under Manly Beacon to Zabriskie Point. I thought I was going to die in Death Valley under a Manly Beacon!
Day 3 we took off on our bikes and road down to the Golden Canyon trailhead to see if the road would be passable but it was not. Caleb and John took off to explore Inyo Mine up Echo Canyon on motorcycles. There are a few of those shots in the photo gallery.
Day 4 we had to say goodbye to Shelley and John but not before one last stop at the top of Dante’s View. Dante’s View (courtesy of wikipedia) is a viewpoint terrace at 5,476 ft. on the north side of Coffin Peak, along the crest of the Black Mountains, overlooking Death Valley. Dante’s View is about 16 mi south of Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park.
After parting ways with Shelley and John, Caleb and I made our way to Stovepipe Wells where we did a short but beautiful hike to Mosaic Canyon.
Day 5 we took a delightful short hike to Salt Creek. Even though there was very little water, there was water! You no longer felt as if you were in Death Valley but rather in an estuary. Salt Creek is home to a tiny little fish named “pupfish”. It has been around since the Ice Age. We did not see any pupfish because they only seen in the spring but we did see blue heron and possibly coyote footprints in the fresh mud.
Day 6 a hike to Fall Canyon which is a narrows. Dry yesterday but is a possible flash flood zone.
Last day spent catching up on things. Life and work resume for me tomorrow, in Zion National Park.