Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy New Year from "The Valley"

December 31 found us driving towards the grassy plains of Panamint Springs and Wildrose. Eroded rose coloured hills looked as if a sculptor had been busy carving and hollowing out sporadic designs. Some rock stood like isolated pillars left from a giant fantasy temple. Vast acres of desert reached across to mountains that looked like they were covered in soft brown suede. Up close, we could see the rows of bristlecone. The vegetation here often looks like it has been planted by a landscape architect. Actually, many species have a poison in their roots to ensure their survival and therefore grow with space around them.

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.           to sin city next......


  1. So nice to see your post. We were there last winter and visited the same sites. This was one of my favorite stops. Great pictures and story!

    nan of

  2. Happy New Year you guys! I love reading of your travels!

  3. Found your blog from a link on Bayfield Bunch. We used to have a 24' boat that we had named CCRider (first letter of last names in our case). Nice writeups and I know the places you started out visiting as we're in Orangeville with relatives up in Wasaga. We plan to get out full-time in a few years.

  4. yeah!!!.pics :)...can't even imagine the heat..aahhhha!!...a double entry to read..soo excited

  5. Dixie is the luckiest dog ever! Oh the smells she must be smelling! :)