Thursday, April 16, 2015

Death Valley - Spring 2015 - Part Five

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

Well it seems we lost track of time and even where we spent the night. In the morning, a spur of the moment thing as we were passing, we stopped for the ultimate National Park visitor experience. For some reason, during all these years, it had never occurred to us.

It started a trend. Several other vehicles stopped. Folks climbed up on the sign. Barking directed, got them just right, and released their shutters. Stories were told. People were happy. This was fun. Pulling Barking away from his photographic duties, we headed for the Alabama Hills. The Spiders had never been to the Alabama Hills.

We seized the high ground, the Lady's favorite place. The wind was manageable, we could open the truck doors. The tops were popped, camp was quickly set up. We wandered. We had dinner. We wandered and climbed high in the rocks. We were reminded this was the night of the full moon.

We remembered what Somona in the red dress said, "I'm meeting friends and we are going to watch the lunar eclipse on Saturday out on the Racetrack Playa!" When was the eclipse? We did not know. We should have asked Somona detailed questions.

"Are we going to stay up and watch the eclipse?" I asked. The Lady just looked at me. She doesn't know there are two nine o'clocks in a day. She goes to sleep early. It doesn't matter where.

"Well, I'll see it if I get up to pee." Barking announced and the Spiders climbed into their comfortable camper.

The Lady and I watched the moonlight grow and light up the world around us.

It was the wee hours of the morning, dark. We were deep asleep but jumped awake to a knock on our camper door. It was Barking Spider. "There's a lunar eclipse," he said.

We pulled on our clothes and joined him outside. Sure enough, the moon was half hidden in shadow.

"Shouldn't you have some pants on?" the Lady asked Barking.

"I got up to pee and saw the eclipse." He returned to their camper and soon both the Spiders were outside with us, fully dressed.

"It is Saturday," I said. "Somona was right."

The Lady joined me outside in the morning. She cuddled close, snuggling both with me and her steaming mug of coffee. We walked and waited for the sun. It was a spectacular Mt. Whitney morning.

We climbed up to a high point above our camp and watched morning arrive.

We lingered over breakfast, reluctant to leave our chairs.

Since this was the Spider's first visit. A walk to the Arch was mandatory.

There was a large mule group camped in the trailhead. The Spiders do not miss Mule Days in Bishop. The Spiders are riding mules down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon the end of this month. Barking walked up and said howdy. They were from the southern Sierra Nevada where Barking started his career. "Do you remember John, the county sheriff back in those days?" he asked.

"You bet," one of the gentleman said. "John always said with him the law was only a starting point."

They were only warming up. Barking told the story of a body recovery he helped with and the sheriff's method was right out of the old west. He lassoed the body.

The Mobius Arch Loop Trail has some nice improvements. We stopped at the first arch.

We moved on to the star attraction, Mobius Arch.

It was a marvelous spring morning. The wind had died down.

It was a relaxing morning. We were in no hurry.

We packed up and headed home. It had been a great trip with good friends. We had gotten a full quota of fun and adventure......................................................


  1. Will try to get to DV next fall or spring. Your Blog continues to provide travel inspiration.

  2. What a ride! Great climbing, great pictographs, great stories. And in that moonlight shot of Whitney, I think there is a meteor to the left of Orion, maybe over Lone Pine Peak? This looks like a 30 second exposure, and a jet would leave a blinking trail. A satellite would leave a line, but this line tapers, unlike a satellite trail. And in the shots of the eclipse, the moon really feels 3-D -- well done!