Corridor Canyon has been on our list for several years. Now was the time. The trailhead - Ubehebe Lead Mine - was about 7 miles from our camp. We arrived early. The Lady had her topo map and was ready to keep us "found" throughout our adventure.
Corridor Canyon is well documented in Digonnet's Hiking Death Valley and also on Jim Boone's birdandhike website. We headed down the wash from the ruins of the lead mine.
This hike is opposite of most canyon hikes in Death Valley as you hike down canyon and return up canyon instead of up and then back down. Corridor Canyon is reached after hiking 3 miles down side canyons, most of the hike is not in Corridor Canyon.
We felt the fossils here were better than we found in Perdido Canyon.
The approach hike to Corridor was outstanding. The canyon varied around every corner. After about a mile and a half, we entered the first narrows.
In the tightest section we found excellent petroglyphs........................
..........................along with pictographs.
One of the famous petroglyphs is the large bighorn sheep in a circle.
My favorite sheep glyph was the one heading downhill.
I wonder what the ancient artists would have thought if it was revealed to them that their rock canvas was once the bottom of an ancient sea and contained fossils of creatures that lived 400 million years ago? That thought makes me realize what an extraordinarily short blip of geologic time man has been on earth.
There were also historical inscriptions from the more recent past.
I want to thank Mom Spider for the following photo........................
..........................and her research identifying Crook as the prospector who, in 1915, was the first to report the Racetrack's mysterious moving rocks.
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The narrows opened and joined a broad wash. The side canyon we descended was a part of this much larger drainage. We continued down.
This larger canyon began to tighten.
The tilted strata was becoming vertical.
The canyon narrowed and we arrived at the "scary pour over". The fall off was higher than we expected. The last rain event had scoured the canyon below down to bedrock. We have seen earlier photos where a deep layer of sand and gravel was at the base of the pour over lessening the height by several feet. We had to deal with the hand we were dealt. Barking Spider had brought along a length of climbing rope. There was a good belay spot at the top. Barking fashioned a seat harness from a section of accessory cord and with a locking carbineer attached himself to the end of the rope. I belayed him as he down climbed. Making the judgment this effort was both doable and safe, I belayed as he climbed back up. Barking found a suitable chockstone anchor in a narrowing crack above. We pooled our equipment. The Lady and I had a couple of webbing loops and more locking 'bineers. The anchor was set and Barking fixed the rope in place. We took turns lowering ourselves down.................................
...........................until we were all safely down.
The canyon continued to narrow and steeply drop as we descended further. This was exciting terrain.
This side canyon, the path of that broad wash above, narrowed to only a few feet wide............................
............................before it dropped us into The Corridor.
The Lady determined our location on her map.
The Corridor is a mile long near straight slot of missing vertical layer of limestone. It was pretty darn cool.
On one wall was an exposed section of fossilized ripples in mud.
At the southern (downstream) end of The Corridor the canyon makes an amazing 180° turn. The group is on the left, in the sun, finding a nice spot for a break and a snack.
Our break was short as we were anxious to backtrack up The Corridor to its upper end.
We returned to our narrow slot and the pathway back to our trucks. The canyon bottom was littered with sheep pellets and remnant pools of water.
We were soon back to the pour over. Don't forget to notice the petroglyphs.
Barking tied up his harness and self belayed up the fixed rope with a prusik loop as he climbed. He then belayed each of us as we followed. The familiar clipped dialogue of climbers was repeated three times.
The climber said, "Up rope!" and when the rope grew taut, "That's me!" and then asked ,"On belay?" Out of sight above a voice answered, "Belay on!" "Climbing!" the climber announced. The voice above responded, "Climb on!"
I was last up. The lady climbed up ahead of me.
We pulled the rope and anchor and headed up the canyon. We found no footprints, except ours, below the "scary pour over" or in The Corridor below.
We thoroughly enjoyed our adventure in Corridor Canyon. Barking expressed his opinion it was the best Death Valley canyon he had traveled.
We reached our trucks mid afternoon and finalized our plans for the next day. We again passed the famous Teakettle Junction.
The next day was one for the girls. I'll explain in Part Three.
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