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"When did we hike to the Panamint Dunes?" the Lady asked.
She was in the passenger seat of our truck. I was driving. We were heading north, home, on highway 395. On her lap were both of Digonnet's guide books - Death Valley and Western Death Valley. She was making notes and checking off the places we have visited.
"Spring 2010," I answered. After 32 years together, she knows my memory well.
I do pretty well with remembering things and paying attention when chatting with people. People like to talk. They will share little tidbits of information about special places. It is good to pay attention. These tidbits along with a great deal of research have led us to some very special places and this trip, the trip we were returning from, had been an amazing adventure. Let's go back to the beginning.
As I was born on Veteran's Day (my Mom and her family always called it Armistice Day), the Lady commonly has the holiday off and this year she even had a couple of extra days. We had a trip planned to Death Valley National Park. The Spiders, Barking and Mom, were joining us. On their last trip with us we had taken them to special places we had previously visited. I called it the Déjà Vu Trip. This trip was different. We were exploring new territory and seeing if all that research would pay off.
Friday morning we were heading north from highway 190 on Saline Valley Road.
We had a long drive ahead of us, up and over Hunter Mountain. The shadows were taking over as we set up camp.
It was a bright night under the full moon.
A note - I will not share location details on two places we visited. I'll just say it takes work to get there and that fact alone probably does much to keep these areas unmolested. I'll also say that I might add misleading details or landscape photos of a different area. You get the idea. It takes lots and lots of research and preparation and planning. Is it worth the effort? I think so and I really enjoy the challenge. I wouldn't want to diminish that for you.
The morning sun worked its magic waking up the landscape.
We were completely alone in this marvelous country.
We started out prepared for a long hike. This could take lots of searching and we could also come up completely empty handed. That happens more often than not. We had an unexpected surprise of finding fossils.
As we continued to explore, we found petroglyphs.
The above photo seems to indicate the same symbol was placed here at different times, possibly centuries apart.
Newer glyphs are near older, more faded symbols. Does this mean this area has a long history of use by the ancient ones?
The Lady was having a great morning and she always likes to claim the high ground.
Further searching led us to our destination, a pictograph panel.
As always, these sites must be treated with respect. This is a very special place. It appears others feel the same and leave offerings.
Stone flakes were scattered across the area.
The Lady continued to check out all the high spots.
The Lady and Barking Spider had missed the fossils on the hike in. We stopped again on the way out so they could enjoy this treat.
With our success here, it was time to hike back to camp.
On this beautiful afternoon the road drew us onward.
It was mid afternoon as we reached White Top Mountain Road. We headed a short distance up and located a great campsite. We had a few hours of daylight to explore Perdido Canyon.
We hiked over to the mouth of the canyon and started up.
Fossils are one of the draws that brings visitors to Perdido. Our fossil hunters went right to work.
We did not have much luck at first, but we got better.
The late afternoon light made for a delightful walk back to camp.
We took the high route back from Perdido Canyon.
We named our campsite the 360° Camp because of the wonderful view.
We enjoyed glorious sunset colors, the best of the trip, as we fussed with evening chores and prepared dinner.
The quiet of another desert night gave us sweet dreams and deep sleep. Color returned to the sky before the sun the next morning.
Next up, Corridor Canyon, continued in Part Two.
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