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:


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…


But opens up the farther up-canyon you go.


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

And boulders of breccia in others.


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!


Along the way, we passed these 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.


Check out the brakes on the wagon:


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.


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.


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


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:

    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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