Death Valley Day 3: In Pursuit of Magic

This morning began with universal dismay and disbelief over the results of the election. As Trump himself has said, “The system…is rigged.” So I was happy to see the graffito I spotted on the back of the sign at the trailhead for Mosaic Canyon:

graffiti

Yes. A much better pursuit than bumming out about a moron occupying the White House.

We pursued that magic first with a hike up Mosaic Canyon. This canyon is narrow and twisty at the beginning…

mosaic-canyon-1

But opens up the farther up-canyon you go.

upcanyon

The rock was the good part–slick and smooth in some places…mc-rock

And boulders of breccia in others.

brescia

Once we finished our hike, we took off by bicycle for a quick 25-mile ride from Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek. For me, bicycling is always magic!

toward-fc

Along the way, we passed these salt flats…

salt-flats

And visited the Harmony Borax Works site, which mined the salt flats for borax in the late 1880s. If you’ve heard of 20-mule teams, this is where it comes from–they pulled the double wagons of borax out of Death Valley.

harmony-borax-works

Check out the brakes on the wagon:

brake

And here is all that remains of a worker’s dwelling.borax-housing

Our next stop was the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center, where we learned just how hot it was when we rode in…and how low we were: 190′ below sea level.

vis-center

The visitor’s center boasts the official dark sky park plaque. We went to a “Death Valley by Moonlight” presentation later, and explored the magic of the night sky in the desert–and saw three shooting stars and our moon shadows.

dark-sky-plaque

Furnace Creek is much bigger and busier than Stovepipe Wells. It even boasts its own post office.

post-office

But for us, the big attraction was a warm spring-fed pool, where we all ended up after our arrival at Furnace Creek Ranch.

the-pool

In the desert, the biggest magic is water.

6 responses to “Death Valley Day 3: In Pursuit of Magic

  1. Helen On Wheels (or Hell On Wheels)…this is my favorite posting I’ve seen here on your many weary travels (or shall I say travails after the election Tuesday). When I was a little kid we watched the television show called “Death Valley Days”…It was in the mid – late 50’s and we had a black ‘n white tv. Your pictures are absolutely splendid and spectacular. Here is a link on Youtube for the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOtbjldK8Dg

    Keep ’em comin’ girlfriend! love the pics.

  2. Helen, your trek is letting me go places I would not have an opportunity to see. And that 20-mule team thing, oh! Put me right back in front of our 50s TV. Thanks for taking everyone along! —Joy

    • Delighted that you are enjoying it, Joy! This morning I met four Belgian draft horses–it is 49ers week here and there are a lot of re-enactments of the gold rush. I have not seen a 20-mule team though…yet.

  3. Thank you for transporting me somewhere else this morning!! Ride safe!!

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