Saturday, December 31, 2016

Death Valley - December 2016 - Part Four

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

The morning's sunrise was subdued........................

................but for a brief moment the sun streamed under the clouds.

It was time to move on to new places.

The Spiders followed us down Johnson Canyon Road.

We stopped at the site of the Eagle Borax Works and remembered this was the operation that the young engineer, Jean LeMoigne traveled all the way from France to work at.

With all of our adventures in Death Valley National Park, the Spiders were surprised we had never visited Natural Bridge. It was a bit unnerving being around so many people at this popular stop.

But, it is a amazing place with this arch carved out of the towering cliffs of fanglomerate.

We continued up the canyon leaving the majority of people behind.

We quickly encountered a series of pour overs that the Lady flew up. Barking Spider was wondering what she was getting us into.

The Spiders were very happy to follow.

Barking even lifted a large chockstone so we and others could scramble safely under.

The canyon continued on but we had another place to explore.

There was another very special place I hoped to find this trip. We had tried previously, came close, but, although we knew we were close, did not locate. On this attempt I simplified our approach and used the observed geology as our guide. I was looking for distinctive layers and the possible treasure it held - fossil camel tracks said to be 5 million years old.

Our search paid off. We hit the jackpot.

Here's a photo for scale.

These small marks were the only other possible tracks of another animal I found.

This was especially intriguing. A small channel existed when the tracks were made and a camel slipped on the edge. The channel and the story the tracks tell is preserved in this stone.

A short distance away the layers were exposed running up the hill. I followed one camel's tracks up to a ledge about 16 inches high. On the exposed higher surface were also camel tracks, showing that the leaving of tracks and filling in with sediments was continuing over many many years. I cannot overstate how exciting it was to visit this spot.

Horses, sheep, and camels, oh my!

It was New Years Eve. What a way to polish off 2016!

We continued on over Townes Pass and dropped down into Panamint Valley. The storm was backed up on the eastern side of the Cottonwood Mountains but the late afternoon sun was bathing the western flanks in glorious light. The Lady set up our camper as I was awestruck. We all were. This was beautiful.

Telescope Peak, the crest of the Panamint Range revealed its new covering of snow as the sunlight faded.

The company, the surroundings, the quiet, the night made for the best New Years Eve celebration.

We awoke to 2017 and made our way home.

Memories and dreams of this adventure will stay with us. And, our best wishes to all for a Happy New Year.


  1. Thank you Ski/Lady for the great trip.
    Keep exploring and posting.What a great start to the new year.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment Frank and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. I am envious. These are beautiful and give the viewer a microscopic hint of what you experienced.

  3. Here's to more great adventures in 2017 -- what a terrific trip!

  4. Thanks Ski for a great write up. What a wonderful trip you had