Report #6 - Death Valley
So, for my first Death Valley hike, the plan was to hike from Zebriskie Point down through Gower Gulch to its end, then cross near the floor of Death Valley to the mouth of Golden Canyon, then hike up Golden Canyon returning to Zebriskie point. The whole trip would be about 5 miles. But it was a bright sunny day, I had just read about a guy who planned to hike up Golden Canyon to Zebriskie point, but was found dead of heat stroke in Gower Gulch, and I wasn't positive the wash I was following was taking me in the right direction. The canyon was completely silent except for the gravel crunching under my feet. Then I heard a quiet voice that seemed to come from nowhere, or everywhere saying "You don't know what you're doing. You're in the desert." For an instant I thought it was my inner voice offering advice, but then I realized it didn't sound like me. The mystery was solved when 2 guys appeared from a side canyon. One of them was urging the other to put his hat on; "You don't know what you're doing. You're in the desert." I completed a great hike through beautiful country with no problems.
I spent 9 days in Death Valley. On 2 of them it rained, and most of the others were cloudy. I understand about half the average annual rainfall fell while I was there. My biggest problem was not heat, it was mud! Non-the-less I got to hike some amazing canyons (Golden, Desolation, Natural Bridge, 20 Mule Team, Mosaic, Fall, Titus ), visit some Historic sites (Harmony Borax Works, Eagle Borax Works, Keane Wonder Mine, Scotty's Castle, Shorty's Grave, Death Valley Museum) and see some beautiful views (Dante's View, Zebriskie Point, Devil's Golf Course, Devils Cornfield, Sand Dunes, Artists Drive, Ubehebe Crater), and of course, the low point of the western hemisphere, Badwater.
I left Death Valley on Tuesday 18 November and started down CA Route 395 planning to spend the night in Dunmovin because the name tickled me, but I didn't see a single sign for the town. Either it's a very small place, or they done moved it! Since I'm so close to home (about 500 miles) I've changed the plan again and now plan to go around the southern end of the Sierras, then head northwest through California, arriving in Mountain View for Thanksgiving. I'll set out again toward Arizona in early December.
Death Valley Sunrise
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Page last updated August 02, 2004