This is the End – Death Valley Part 4

5 April 2012 in Reviews, Trails/Hiking, Traveling


Where are the Jawas?We awoke to our last day in Death Valley. This morning we were set to attend another Ranger Program with Ranger Rose. The previous night and early this morning Lindsay had been hard at work completing connect the dots and word searches amongst other activities. With her required homework complete she only needed a Ranger’s signature to obtain her badge.

Meeting at the entrance to Golden Canyon we were joined by a couple of families and led into the canyon for this guided walking tour. First we passed a section of washed out asphalt where a road had once stood. Making our way further in we were shown rock containing the ancient ripples from a long gone sea. These remnants were much like those you’d see at the edge of a beach, but hardened. You also noticed the distinct layering and angles of the rock. This attribute was caused by the two fault lines slowly pushing the rock upward. And later we were shown borax deposits. This mineral was a key component in soaps and more money was made mining this than gold which was rumored to lay in Death Valley. The money from borax also led to a tourist boom.

BoraxEventually the tour ended and we were left to wander deeper into the canyon or return to the trailhead. Lindsay and I decided to wander a little further. The diversity in these canyons is simply unparalleled to any area we’ve visited. Walking a quarter mile you might be exposed to a half dozen varieties of rock and several variations in rock formations.

Dante's ViewAfter a quick lunch we made our way down the other vein of Death Valley and up to Dante’s View. After a steep and curvy ascent we arrived in the parking lot and stepped up to one of the greatest views we have experienced. Rivaling Moro Rock in Sequoia and Observation Point in Zion this spot provided a bird’s eye view of the valley below. There, like a lost field of snow lay Badwater Basin. A sprinkling of clouds passing over cast blurred shadows upon it’s vast surface. Surrounding this massive flat stretch were rough spines of mountain ridges. The wind was a force to reckon with, but that did not stop us from spending a good while atop this beautiful perch. With hat in hand Lindsay and I walked the stretches of trail winding both directions from the parking lot. The first led downhill and afforded views of one half. The second led us up even further to a roost that provided a 360 degree view of the main valley and of the other side of the ridge.

This was a fitting end to our time here. When we first decided to spend four days in Death Valley I was concerned we’d get bored long before our stay was through expecting a dry basin and a whole lot of empty space, but the park was rich with variety and had more than enough to see and do. We actually ended up missing out on a lot of things simply do to time.

It should also be noted here that after being sworn in by Ranger Rose at the visitor center Lindsay became an official Junior Ranger complete with badge.

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