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RichardK

Death Valley Spring Trip

We couldn't stay out of California for too long, not with a major wildflower bloom underway in Death Valley. We spent March 17-20 in the park. In 20 years of visiting this place, I have never seen so many visitors. Cars at the parking lots at Golden Canyon and Badwater were overflowing onto the side of the road. Every place you could pull over had a car pulled over taking pictures. Furnace Creek was a zoo. Even the restaurants in Beatty, Nevada, where we stayed were busy. We did a few hikes and took our own wildflower pictures.

The first hike was Corkscrew Canyon. We hiked in from Hwy 190.  At the mouth of the canyon there is a pipe gate.  A new sign has been added.



This area is a private inholding owned by mining company Rio Tinto, a major scumbag outfit and destroyer of our planet. After displaying my middle finger to the sign, we crawled under the gate and continued the hike. The canyon splits at a rock pillar. The right branch goes to a mining ruin and the left branch is Corkscrew Canyon. If you go far enough, after some narrow twisting turns, tight passages, and a crawl under a wedged boulder, there is a natural bridge. Since I have been feeling some hip pain, we didn't go that far, but the beginning of the canyon has lots to offer as well.











We next turned our attention to an unnamed canyon about a mile south of Mormon Point. I noticed on Google Earth that there were two objects casting long shadows in this canyon. Maybe they were pinnacles like Room Canyon. They are only 500 feet from Badwater Road. The mouth of the canyon is at WGS84 UTM 521489 3989029. Here is the GE picture.



The soft gravel floor of the canyon showed numerous footprints. Obviously, this little canyon is getting visitation. To my knowledge, this canyon is unnamed, is not in any guidebook, and is not mentioned on the internet. Yet, the word is out. The shadows are caused by two irregular rock outcroppings, not exactly pinnacles, but worth a look.





The real treat is found in another 50 feet. The canyon ends at an enclosed dryfall that is a fantastic grotto.



Here is a view of the whole show. There is a small pinnacle high on the canyon rim.



We continued to Mormon Point Canyon. It's a fantastic Death Valley canyon with narrow slots.  A Google search will turn up several trip reports from others. Here is what the canyon looked like to us.

























We hiked Room Canyon last year, but failed to scramble up to the pinnacles area. We returned this year to stand at the base of the pinnacles.



We were going to revisit the rest of the canyon, but found a rockfall blocking the way. With my hip hurting from the pinnacles scramble and seeing no obvious handholds or footholds in the crumbly conglomerate blocks, we decided to call it a hike. They are higher than they appear in the picture as I still had the wide angle lens on the camera. The top of the one on the right was about chest high to me and I am 6'5".



The wildflower bloom was outstanding, nearly as good as the "bloom of the century" in 2005. The big surprise was Desert Five Spots. My experience is that these flowers are a little hard to find. This year they were everywhere.

Enjoy the pictures.











































































Death Valley has fauna, too, - donkeys and pupfish.





Happy hikers in the flower fields.

Huff and Puff

WOW!  Super wildflower pix.  It looks like you hit the jackpot on your Death Valley Trip.
Uncle Rico

Welcome back home. The west is the best.

Excellent TR and pics.

Quote:
This area is a private inholding owned by mining company Rio Tinto, a major scumbag outfit and destroyer of our planet. After displaying my middle finger to the sign, we crawled under the gate and continued the hike.
 Very Happy
JeffH

Looks like it was definitely worth the trip back here.
tekewin

Superb photos, thanks. The burros were a great find.
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