Monday, January 6, 2014

Death Valley Déjà Vu – December 2013 - Part Two

please remember you can click on a photo to see a larger version

The road took us down down down into the Valley of Death. We get a chuckle out of the fatalistic themes this area we love so much are wrapped in. We were rendezvousing with friends from Southern California who were joining us in the evening. Our first stop was grabbing a couple camp sites in Mesquite Springs Campground. Then it was off to continue our love affair with the Scotty’s Castle saga.

We have enjoyed the tours of the castle and on this trip we were doing the underground tour. We had time to wander the grounds. We headed down into the wash and checked out the bone yard.

I enjoyed the remains of older means of transport.

The underground tour started in the seahorse room.

We explored the tunnels beneath the Castle.

Much of the tile to be used in finishing the construction is stored here. Construction stopped because it turned out the Johnsons built in the wrong place. Their land was a mile to the north. As expected, a blunder like that took years to sort out.

We enjoyed the piles of tile from Spain that was to be used to line the pool.

Yes, we did pay to see banks of dusty old batteries.

In the early days a Pelton Water Wheel generator was used to produce electricity and charge the batteries. Later, large diesel generators were added but the noise unacceptably changed the quiet character of the desert surroundings. The Pelton was left in place and our tour guide demonstrated it still produces power.

Our past visits to the Castle have been in the morning. I enjoyed seeing the place in late afternoon light.

Our friends Muir Trek & Outdoor Woman arrived at Mesquite Springs late afternoon. This was our first camping trip together since they had picked up their new All Terrain Camper. These great friends are also instructors with The Becoming an Outdoor Woman program. They teach outdoor cooking. We were looking forward to this get together!

Monday morning the Lady and I were up on a high point to watch first light arrive.

Fall Canyon was one of the first slot canyons the Lady and I explored in Death Valley and it definitely got us hooked. We wanted to share it with the Spiders and Trekkers. Fall is the canyon in the Grapevine Mountains just north of Titus Canyon. Access is from the parking area at the mouth of Titus. We started out.

We reached Fall Canyon’s wash and I discovered the hardy group was happy and would do almost anything I asked.

We headed into Fall Canyon.

It is a spectacular canyon.

The group continued to take direction well. This was a fun day.

The first obstacle is a 25 foot pour over.

Thank you to Muir Trek for his photo.

Down canyon is the start of the bypass route that begins with a climb that is challenging for most. Muir Trek & Outdoor Woman decided to wait for us to return from our exploration of the narrows above.

Thank you Muir Trek for this photo.

This is thrilling territory.

We explored as high as the end of the second narrows.

This was our turnaround. We started our journey back.

At the top of the high pour over the bypass route climbs.

Soon we were looking down at Muir Trek & Outdoor Woman.

Many people who climb up seem to rarely think about the more difficult climb down. We helped three people descend the down climb. Barking Spider helped at the top turn around spot and Muir Trek spotted them from the bottom and got their feet into the proper footholds. One young man in shorts and t-shirt and no pack was one of the three. He had hustled up the bypass to pose at the top of the pour over for family below. “One of those down there waiting for me is my girlfriend!” He told me. He was obviously proud. As our group was helping him down I asked the young lady below. “Is he a good guy? Does he treat you well? Do you want him back?” Her shy smile told the story. Down he went.

As I waited at the top, our group down climbed.

Thanks again for the photo Muir Trek!

It was an unforgettable afternoon as we worked our way back down Fall Canyon.

Barking Spider was animated as ever with his story telling.

The Lady and I stayed back allowing the Spiders and Trekkers time to get to know one another.

If you get the opportunity, don’t miss this wonderful canyon.

We headed back to Mesquite Springs where a real treat was in store for us.

Our adventure continues in Part Three

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