Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Death Valley Déjà Vu – December 2013 - Part Three

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When we arrived back at camp, I discretely pulled Muir Trek aside. I filled him in on the incident the first night in our camper. His expression was priceless.
“Does the door on your camper squeak?” I asked.
“No, it doesn’t,” he answered. “It’s completely silent.”
As I was pondering his answer, Muir Trek worked through the contents of one of their bins. He handed me a small container of WD40.
“Try this,” he said with a smile.

This was a very special evening. Prior to the trip Muir Trek asked during a phone call, “What night would be best for us to make dinner for everyone?”
“Wow!” was all I could say.
“What night?” Muir Trek asked again, bringing me out of my euphoric anticipation.
“Monday, Monday would work!”

This was Monday.

A tablecloth was on the table. Items started to appear.

The evening color arrived.

A small fire was built to produce coals. Coals were placed below and on top of a Dutch oven. Stories were told.

With our headlamps, we gathered around the table.

We ate with unbridled enthusiasm. Outdoor Woman announced, “No leftovers!” We took on the task and devoured beef tenderloin marinated in Port wine and wrapped in bacon. The potatoes were exquisite and cooked to perfection. The salad was complete with Feta goat cheese and homemade caramelized pecans. Conversation ceased. We ate with abandon. There were no leftovers. Dessert was raspberry tarts and chocolate truffles. And to top it all off, our friends were decked out in black ties. This was class!

This will be one of our most memorable evenings under Death Valley’s star filled sky.

We walked around the campground in the night and then said our good nights. Muir Trek quietly asked, “Will there be an incident tonight?”
“Doubtful,” I answered; “WD40.”

More clouds enhanced first light on the last day of 2013

It was warm, comfortable, 46°, and it was moving day. We visited the newly remodeled Visitors Center at Furnace Creek. We backtracked a bit and headed to Stovepipe Wells and filled up with gas. Our destination was high up into Marble Canyon. Our preferred spot was empty, waiting. We picked our spots, got to leveling the trucks, and the tops were popped. We had another place to call home for a couple days. It was New Years Eve.

We popped popcorn and the Lady brought out two bottles of sparkling cider, our choice for bubbly. We all still had
stories to share. The wells had not run dry. “Are we going to see midnight?” someone asked. “Only if I have to get up to pee around that time,” Barking Spider answered.

We did sit longer outside and watched the sky. A couple of us had seen shooting stars dart across the heavens. Someone suggested we could not go to bed until we had each seen one. It was delightfully quiet as a desert night should be. We all looked up and a large meteor center punched the sky, leaving a brilliant streak that ended in a pronounced red ball. It was perfect. “Time for bed!” we said in unison.

This part of Marble Canyon is aligned well to get nice early morning light. The Lady and I were up first, the smell of Peets coffee was rich in the air. We walked down canyon and found a bench on the north side to climb. We watched the line of sunlight move toward us. “I want to go up there!” the Lady pointed at the high peak above the canyon. Up is her favorite direction.

The Lady had brought everyone here because she wanted to see dragon eggs again and show them to our friends. We put our gear and packs together. Barking Spider and the Lady were the first ready to go.

We quickly moved through the first narrows and worked our way on the bypass around the huge chock stone.

We entered the dark and mysterious second narrows of Marble Canyon.

We broke into the opening above the narrows. Butterflies were about.

We passed by the famous pregnant sheep.

We continued up……………………………..

.............and the Lady led us to dragon eggs.

We explored side canyons.

We were kids again. “This is the best New Years Day I’ve ever had!” Mom Spider said.

It seemed that every direction we explored held treasure.

We found a shaft of sunshine for a lunch spot. Our friends were happy.

It was time to turn around and have some fun along the way.

The group still took direction well.

I believe we named this Bottom Slide Canyon.

The canyon opened up below us.

We passed by the Space Ship panel.

As the shadows lengthened with the afternoon light, we enjoyed our walk back down Marble Canyon.

We again passed through the second narrows. This spot always stops me.

It had been another incredible day.

Thursday was a beautiful Death Valley morning.

Today was a day of goodbyes. The Spiders and the Trekkers were heading home. The Lady and I were staying a few more days. What adventures lay ahead for us?

Our adventure continues in Part Four

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