Monday, April 9, 2018

We're Definitely Canyon People - Part 1

April 3-5, 2018
Amargosa Valley, Nevada

Tuesday we head back into Death Valley National Park. 

15 miles east of the visitors' center at Furnace Creek is the turn-off for Twenty Mule Team Canyon. A short 2.7 mile drive travels one way through a unique landscape. Smooth hills and jagged ridges in a variety of muted colors create a beautiful badlands.

Sandstone cathedrals watch over us.

Let the zoomies begin!

Tessa has a great time running up and over the white hills.

Come on Mom, let's see what's up here!

Good job fluffy trail blazer!

The surprise of blues and purple.
The badlands stretch to tall mountains beyond.
The drive to the visitors' center takes us past the popular Zabriskie Point where crowds are already filling the walkway. We pass by with plans to return. We also pass by Badwater Basin with the same plans. As it turns out we never make it back to either area. Guess we'll have to come back :-)

We pick up a map and information at Furnace Creek. The wind is picking up but before noon it is already warm. We continue on through Stovepipe Wells where we have no need of the services provided. A rough, washboard road takes us to Mosaic Canyon. More crowds have nearly filled the parking lot so after a quick leg stretch we continue on.

The oasis of Furnace Creek.

Early on the valley floor.

Mesquite Flat Dunes

Mosaic Canyon
Continuing west, and rapidly gaining elevation, we turn on to Emigrant Canyon Road to Wildrose Canyon. An 18 mile round trip takes us to the town site of Skidoo. Important to remember that a site is not a town when framing one's expectations :-) At 5800' the temps have dropped significantly. I get back in the Jeep to get out of the chilly wind!

Along the shelf road we encounter a single hiker talking on her cell phone. When we stop on the way back to see if she needs water or anything else she tells us she walked up here from her tent down the hill (we saw it earlier) to get cell service to call her son. The views are expansive, I can only imagine how she explains to him where she is.

The color of canyon walls.

Four of a kind.

Balancing along soft sand.

The road to Skidoo

Spots of interest along the way.

Site, no town remains. The name Skidoo comes from the slang 23 Skidoo meaning to get out quickly, although the town was productive from 1907 to 1916. Approximately $1.5 million in gold was pulled from the mine. I'm always amazed by the distances and conditions of the routes they had to travel from these small boom towns.

Much cooler up here!

Views coming down the hill.
Wildrose Canyon includes a small, primitive campground with pit toilets and trash/recycling bins. The foliage is thick and green here. We take another rough road (even worse than roads in Louisiana!) to pick up the twisting highway through the pass. At the bottom we pick up Panamint Highway back to Highway 190. Back up and over into the valley. 10 miles up and 13 miles down at 6-7%, not something I'd enjoy in the motorhome!

Wildrose Canyon Campground

Paved - sort of.

Gorgeous views with a touch of snow on top.

Pastels on the west side of the park - Panamint Valley.

Stuck in the middle with you......

Towne Pass

The heat is waiting for us back in the valley.

One last stop at Devil's Cornfield (dude get's his name on a lot of places).

Arrowweed roots bind with the soil to support each plant and were thought to resemble bundled dry corn. Natives used the rigid stems of the plant to make arrow shafts. 

Tomorrow we'll come back for one last canyon through these beauties. We saved the best for last!


  1. You indeed have found some amazing canyons to hike, I'm guessing what the 'best for last' will be. I can wait for your next update to find out. When planning your return trip, schedule it after Scotty's Castle has reopened.

    1. Good idea. I was surprised it was still closed!

  2. Is Scotty's Castle closed for repairs?? Great photos but 90 degrees is just too warm!

    1. The road was washed out several years ago and the area took a real hit. We would be long out of this area if we didn't have a reunion and a wedding keeping us here!

  3. So much to take in. Beauty at every turn and constantly changing. Even the temps change at every turn. What a fantastic area!! Tessa was sure enjoying the open space for her zoomies:) Isn't Devil's Cornfield so interesting!! Thanks for taking us back. Beautiful photos!

    1. I was amazed at how fast Tessa was running those hills and jumping over the small ones. The best part was your Titus wash we did on the last day!

  4. Death Valley NP has always been top of our list of favorite place. It is fascinating there which ever turn you make. And because we are not yet jeep people, we rented one and took it from Titus Canyon all the way to the Playa, an all day adventure.

    1. Renting a Jeep was a great idea to see so much more! You can really cover some miles in that huge area.

  5. Just saying Twenty Mule Team reminds me of Borax and I want to laugh except for that Grade B movie actor. It’s sure hard to call such a beautiful landscape “the bad lands”. But if you aren't in a jeep that can take you in and out in a day, perhaps it didn't look as beautiful to them as it does to me. Thanks for the pictures. Yes that dude seems to get things people don't like named after him. Love "stuck in the middle".

    1. Always reminds me of Borax and the smell of my dad's shop where he had a canister for cleaning his hands! It's hard to imagine navigating through some of those areas in wagons. A beautiful but harsh place.

  6. Love the diversity in Death Valley. Camped once at Wildrose. Mosaic canyon has some very cool rock. Hoping you drove Titus canyon as I haven't done that.

    1. Wildrose is a pretty spot! You'll like the next post :-))))

  7. Such a stark but beautiful landscape and you captured it so artistically. Tessa is the exact color of those white hills—that's a good plan for keeping her looking clean! Love the explanation for the town named Skidoo.

    1. Thanks Laurel - sometimes finding the beauty in harsher environs is more fun than the "more obvious" for me :-) All these months in the desert, Tessa is getting a lot more baths. She's ready for some grass!

  8. Wow, it is just beautiful out there, Jodee!