Since it is really and truly cold here, we aren’t adopting our normal routine of rising early for a hike before things heat up. (Bear in mind that for me, “heat up” means over 72°F and “cold” means below 50°F.) Instead we slept in, drank coffee and read in our room, and then headed out to the Ranch for breakfast about 9. So hedonistic!
I’d read about a hike in the Death Valley guide that I was pretty sure we hadn’t done before: Desolation Canyon. It’s a 3 mile round trip “moderate” hike and seemed like a good warmup hike for our first day, since we could just turn around at any time. The hike took us into a lovely slot canyon that kept narrowing. Eventually we reached a 7 foot climb that I couldn’t commit to. Jim climbed up solo (see excellent butt shot below) but ended up turning around when he saw there were several more similar scrambles. While he explored, I took pictures of rocks. Because I love rocks!
We then took a drive up to Aguereberry Point. It’s an AMAZING view. It was 27°F and windy when we got there, but the drive (high clearance vehicle recommended) and weather were worth it for the stunning views framed by giant quartz-like rocks. On the way back we stopped at Pete Aguereberry’s Eureka mine and the Cashier Mill, which he purchased from another prospector. Pete worked claims in Death Valley for forty years.
We got back to the Inn, made coffee and bourbon toddies to warm up, and then had a lovely dinner at the Inn. We had time for a drink in the lobby before hand – I love sitting there and pretending it’s the thirties and I’m escaping from the drudgery of my studio contract in Hollywood.
Oh! On the way to Aguereberry Point, we saw another coyote, and on the way back a small rodent. Perhaps a kangaroo rat out during the day because of the cold weather?
Mammal patrol count so far: 2 coyotes, 1 rodent.