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Old 12-05-2012, 10:40 PM   #17
RandyM OP
Less talk, More ride
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Westminster, Ca
Oddometer: 915
Saturdays ride was solo. This time I just went down to the valley to check out a few of the more touristy stuff that I didn't do before.

First stop was Salt Creek. Salt Creek is home to an endangered species of pupfish. The little guys have been pretty much stuck in this isolated spring fed creek for the last several thousand years, surviving through the dry summer in isolated deep pools. I didn't see any when I was there.

Salt Creek is a tourist stop along the highway. I don't like tourist stops that much but you can learn a few things by reading those interpretive signs.

This unusual plant removes salt from water it collects and stores the salt in pods that eventually die off the plant when they acquire too much salt.

Next stop was another touristy valley spot, the Harmony Borax works.

Rode back the the highway through Mustard Canyon, a short easy dirt loop.

After touring Harmony and Mustard canyon, I had a sandwich at Furnace Creek, then went down the highway toward Artists drive. I saw an unmarked dirt side road heading east into the Amargosa range between Golden Canyon and the exit for Artists Drive. It is not one the handout park map but on the Tom Harrison DV map it leads up to Desolation Canyon. I decided to take a look. I took the trail to the north that looked like it would go into a nearby canyon.

At first the canyon was wide.

Then it got narrower...

And narrower

I turned around at a dry waterfall.

This was a nice little hike. There are a lot of slot canyons in Death Valley. There were a couple people around the parking lot at Desolation Canyon but I saw no one on the mile or so hike. You don't have to walk far to get away form the holiday crowds in Death Valley.

Next stopped at Devils Golf course. This looks a lot like soft dirt clods that would break if you step on them.

It turns out that they are really rock hard salt and mineral formations.

That's about it. Stopped at Stovepipe wells to buy a Pepsi and some touristy crap and run into Tim, another inmate that I have ridden with in the past. Small world.
I got cold heading back to camp. It was about 78 degrees in Stovepipe wells at about 4pm. About 30 minutes later, it was dark and 51 degrees at the top of Towne pass when I stopped to put on another layer. I made it back to camp all right. Left for home early Sunday morning to beat the holiday traffic.
-Ride Safe-
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