Sunday, February 28, 2016
Hike 2016.009A, B, C and D -- Rhyolite, NV, Goldwell Open Air Museum, NV, Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes, and Darwin Falls, Death Valley National Park, CA, and Father Crowley Point, Death Valley National Park, CA
Following my Golden Canyon / Gower Gulch hike, I returned to a motel in Beatty, NV. It's about a 50 minute drive from Furnace Creek Visitor Center to Beatty, NV (according to google maps). A bit of a drive, but far more affordable than what staying at Furnace Creek Ranch would have cost (and, of course, WAY more affordable than Furnace Creek Inn).
Actually, breakfast was after my short visit to Rhyolite. That's a ghost town, not ten minutes from Beatty. Figured it would be fun to shoot some of the ruins and the art at the Goldwell Open Air Museum as the sun rose, with that soft, warm light and raking shadows. Then I'd drive back to the motel, eat breakfast, and head home.
The last time I was here was before I owned a digital camera. So I was happy to return and see some old friends, and some newer additions. The ghostly Last Supper was there before, as was the ghost rider and the bike, and the miner and the penguin.
I spent probably 20 minutes walking around the "museum," snapping lots of pictures and enjoying the solitude. Then I drove on up along the main road (paved), with ruins on either side of me. Stopped in front of several buildings and took some shots, but I only really liked some of my shots of the old bank. It's the most distinctive ruin in Rhyolite. Walked maybe 1/2 mile, total, around here.
Figured I'd definitely stop at the sand dunes at Mesquite Flat. Once there, I encountered another packed lot. So I was somewhat undermotivated for a long walk across the dunes. Instead, I just walked over to the first decent rise and snapped some medium telephoto shots of the dunes, with the Amargosa Mountains, in the background. Maybe 1/4 mile, counting the walk from the car to the trailhead, up the first dune, then back.
The road to the Darwin Falls trailhead is unmarked. You just need to know that it's almost immediately after leaving the small town of Panamint Springs. As soon as you're past the town, be looking on your left (if you're driving east to west).
From there, a clear trail heads up canyon for one mile. The canyon starts out wide, but eventually narrows further up. Pipes run down the right side of the canyon, providing drinking water for someone down stream. For that reason, they discourage swimming in the water. It might even be illegal, I'm not sure.
At the end is a small alcove, and a small waterfall, much shorter than Eaton Canyon, and with the equivalent of an early summer flow at Eaton Canyon. It's pretty, but not very tall and not much water, at least not for me in mid-February. It's supposed to be perennial.
2 miles round trip for this bit of hiking.
So after I finally got my turn in the restroom, I hopped in the car, with the idea of driving to the point. But after only a few hundred yards, I reached a point where I was uncertain if I had clearance. So I backed up, turned around, parked back in the paved lot, and walked down the road I just tried to drive.
So I'm well behind my preferred pace for 100 hikes this year, but it's early, still. Once we get into daylight savings time, I'll be able to fit the occasional walk in after work, and hopefully pick up my hiking rate.