Thursday, April 12, 2018

Death Valley Part 2: Marble Canyon

Sunrise in the Panamint Valley: Just what the doctor ordered.

Moosie, Camo, and I leave the Panamint Valley and head for Marble canyon after stopping by the Stovepipe Wells visitor center.

Moosie drove her car as far as her vehicle would allow. An entrance to the canyon, but a couple miles from the Marble Canyon trailhead.

We begin hiking the hot, exposed jeep road towards Marble Canyon

Camo enters Marble Canyon.

Interesting spots on walls.

Near the camp for the night.
Moosie, Camo, and I woke up on day three on the desert floor of the Panamint Valley. Temperatures were perfect for sleeping and my soul rejoiced in the clean air and open space. I woke up just before sunrise and took a short walk. After breakfast, we all jumped back into the car and planned to drive to Marble Canyon and do an overnight backpack trip there. The day was quickly getting warmer. We stopped by the Stovepipe Wells gift shop/gas station/ visitor center and cleaned up a bit. It felt real good to wash the face. After milling around for a few minutes, Moosie confirmed directions to the canyon, and we began our drive down the bumpy dirt road.

We picked up a fellow hiker who parked his car several miles from the canyon and saved him a few miles under the intense sun and uncomfortable heat. Moosie drove her car and bottomed out a few too many times so we decided to park the vehicle right at the canyon's entrance. After packing up our packs carrying close to two gallons of water each, we still had a couple miles to hike before we reached Marble Canyon's trailhead. It was hot and exposed, but overall not too bad.

Once we reached Marble Canyon, Moosie, Camo, and I entered and enjoyed walking in shade when the opportunity presented itself. We tried to make sense of the canyon, the geology, the strange shapes in the rocks, the lack of fossil evidence. We took our time, stopping often, having no real destination, mileage or schedule to maintain. The highlight for me was the narrows and the interesting light from the afternoon sun on the canyon walls. We only hiked a handful of miles before setting up camp just after the narrows. We hiked a mile or two up the canyon in the evening after setting up camp since we had time to spare. By evening, bats were flying overhead as we made our way back to camp.

A near full moon rose over the canyon and we enjoyed the sound of crickets in the evening. Once again, it felt great to just throw the sleeping bag down on the ground and cowboy camp for the night. Stars were dimmed by the light of the moon, but I enjoyed watching a few satellites fly overhead.

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