We visited the amazing Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, ten 25' high beehive-shaped structures made of stone.
Built in 1876, they were used to make charcoal which was used to fuel the local mines. We lunched in the warm sun where we could enjoy a view of the impressive kilns. The rocky hillside,with patches of snow was fragrant with pinion pines and juniper. Explored an abandoned gold mine. There are many in the valley. This one called Eureka had many shafts and tunnels now boarded up and occupied by bats who winter there. Toasted to the New Year under another remarkable desert sunset.
On New Year's Day we moved to Furnace Creek Campground. There were a few more trees there but under foot was all sand. Out of CC's windshield we had a great view of some rounded sedimentary hills that looked like giant vanilla cakes streaked with chocolate. A scenic drive took us from below sea level to 5475' above at Dante's View. From there, one could look out over the entire valley,down on the salt flats and across to the Amoragosa Mountain Range. You may have noticed the common thread used to name things in the valley such as: Devil's Golf Course, Furnace Creek, Badwater,and Coffin Peak!
Joined the groovy 20-somethings, a few extreme-sports enthusiasts and designer families in the Furnace Creek Saloon for some bevvies, dinner, football and general merriment celebrating day one of 2012.
Spent our last two days in the Valley enjoying the Basin's Salt Flats, vast miles of rock salt eroded by the wind; Natural Bridge, a massive rock spanning a desert canyon; Artist's Drive, a scenic loop through sedimentary hills of pink, buff and green; Harmony Borax Works & Museum; Rhyolite Ghost Town with cool bottle house and the roughly carved Mustard Hills.
......off to sin city next......