Denise Goldberg's blog

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Canyons and badlands

One last Death Valley wandering day (for this year)...

Denise thought that today was going to be a three-canyon day; it turned into a two-canyon plus badlands day instead.

We started with a walk through Mustard Canyon. It's just a small loop, a good one to start our day. We wandered out on the salty spots near the Harmony Borax Works then continued around the loop.

Next stop, Twenty-Mule Team Canyon... That's a favorite, a loop that we drove, stopping often. Usually we pulled to the side of a wide spot in the road to play for a bit, but a couple of times Denise just stopped in the road. That wasn't a problem since we didn't see any other people on that loop. Either the other people were moving as slowly as we were or we had the loop to ourselves - and I think it was our private loop today. I wonder if I can convince Denise to walk that one the next time we visit. It's a bit long for a road walk - 3 miles on a winding 1-lane dirt road, then the walk back down the highway to rejoin the car. Hmm... Maybe I'll just plant that idea in Denise's head.

The colors in Twenty-Mule Team Canyon were wonderful even though we were there in the strong morning light. I think the colors would have been more intense in the afternoon; somehow it seems like we've always visited this canyon in the morning. I know there will be a future visit to Death Valley; guess I'll need to remind Denise to try an afternoon loop there the next time.

We stopped at Zabriskie Point for a quick view that turned out to be a long visit. As we stood on the overlook looking down we could see faint trails left by wandering feet on top of the ridges of the badlands below. I convinced Denise that we should skip the next canyon hike and spend our remaining time in the badlands below Zabriskie Point. I think we just found a new favorite spot!

--- Rover