Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, December 05, 2010

North to Ubehebe

Denise told me she thought we should drive to our planned furthest point for the day and that we would stop at places that reached out to us on the way back. I just shook my head and waited. And guess what? We weren't too far from our starting point when she saw glittering light to the right. Water in the salt flats! I didn't think she was going to stop, but just then the car slowed and pulled off to the side. Denise said she didn't know what the light would be like on the way back, so, we made our first stop of the day.

There were small streams running through the salty ground, separate streams, and streams joining and splitting. Honey-colored spiky clumps of plans decorated the white too.

I'm sure we stopped a few more times before we arrived at Ubehebe Crater, but finally! We jumped out of the car and started trudging up the loose soil to get to the top of the crater. Late afternoon might have been a better time to visit since the morning sun wasn't really highlighting the red and gold layers in the crater. It was beautiful though, fascinating to see the ribs of land sticking out along the edge. We bounced around the edge of Little Hebe crater, even when the very narrow path had slippery loose soil falling down steep slopes on both sides of the path. You do know that Denise doesn't like exposure, don't you? We thought about sliding to the bottom of Ubehebe crater, but that would mean a two steps forward one step sliding back on the way back up. Denise decided we could skip that today.

Our next stop was Scotty's Castle We wandered around the grounds for a bit. I didn't realize how far the car had climbed - Furnace Creek is at 183 feet below sea level, and Scotty's Castle is at 3000 feet. I didn't have any idea that we had climbed that far as the road wasn't noticeably tilted.

Heading back to our home away from home, we made one more stop, at Salt Creek. Yes, one more place with flowing water in the desert. We walked to the turnaround point on the boardwalk, then stepped onto a trail leading out a bit further. We followed the trail to some large pools of water, pools wearing an interesting green color.

There was one more activity to the day. Denise gave in to her desire to jump into the pool here at the Furnace Creek Ranch. The pool is fed by a hot spring with the water temperature at 82 degrees. It was only in the 50s, so the air temperature was quite cool. She said that the water felt good, but getting out was really chilly. Luckily she was able to take a hot shower at the pool, no walking back in a wet bathing suit. Me? I watched - I thought it was a bit too chilly to get wet.

Tomorrow is our last full day in the park. I wonder where we'll be wandering.

--- Rover