Monday, December 8, 2014

Death Valley (Part 2)






 A few minutes after sunrise, we arrive at Mesquite Dunes.


 Most of the morning is spent slogging up and down huge piles of sand.  


Some of the dunes are over 300 feet tall! Most are covered in people tracks, but if you look closely, you can see where smaller critters have been. Snake tracks go straight up steep sides of the dunes, and down the other side at an angle that would make a human balk.  

Hubs asks how snakes say "WHEEEEEE!"



 We can see Sputnik from the tallest dune.



Self Portrait









Climbing dunes is thirsty work.  We finish the last of our water just as we get back to the car, and drive back to camp for some lunch and pug time.  


It is only ten in the morning, and daylight is precious and short, so we take off again for another hike.  Titus Canyon is over twenty miles from our Stovepipe Wells campground and three miles down a rough dirt road.  Most of the roads here in Death Valley are an absolute pleasure to drive on.  The asphalt is nice and smooth, and the roads plenty wide, without much wildlife around to worry about squishing.  What isn't so nice are many of the roads branching off the main roads that lead to trailheads.  They are jarring, rocky dirt roads that raise a cloud of dust as you drive.  Many roads have warning signs that say "High clearance vehicles only.  Heavy-duty tires recommended).  After being stranded on a mountain in Wyoming waiting for new tires, we are very protective of our car.  




 Titus Canyon is a twenty-six mile drive on a one-way dirt road beginning outside the park.  The first three miles (starting from inside the park) are two-way and most people just hike through the canyon on the road.  Honestly, it isn't that exciting to walk on.  Once you see the first quarter mile, the scenery stays the same.  Somewhere around mile six, there are petroglyphs, but we don't go nearly that far, and turn back for Angel Falls Canyon Trail which begins from the same trailhead.  It gets too warm and we give up on that too after a half mile of rather bland scenery.  I entertain myself by poking small twigs into any hole I can find.  The park map warns that there are black widow spiders, scorpions, and rattle snakes that all hang out in these holes, and I want to see one.  No such luck.



Looking at the map, we are halfway between our campground and Ubehebe Crater.  In an effort to conserve gas by not making multiple trips in the same direction, we push on to see the crater, racing against the setting sun.  This part of the park seems to be abandoned, and we aren't towing, so we test our wings and fly down the road which just begs for speed.  

We get there just as shadows push over the edge of the crater.  An titanic gash in the earth shows just how violent the eruption must have been.  Orange rippling walls hint at the cataclysm that happened here. 







 We have done a lot of steep climbing today and all the string has gone out of my legs.  It is time to go home and have a good sleep.  Barreling back down the deserted highway, we get back to Sputnik and the pugs just as the last pink clouds slink behind the hills. 


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5 comments:

  1. Hey you guys! I know your posts are delayed some - I'm wondering if we'll cross paths anytime soon. We're near Parker, AZ.

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  2. Glad you are enjoying Death Valley. If you feel up to it go to the Racetrack. and do go for a walk in the Inn, it is a marvelous old hotel....

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    1. We would LOVE to go to the racetrack, but it would involve renting a jeep (at $200/day) with tires that could handle the 26 miles of sharp dirt road to get there :(

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  3. I really appreciate the effort to produce the wonderful landscape shots. Some appear otherworldly. Great stuff as usual!

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