January 29 - February 4, 2005
Dave and Carolyn, Chuck and Sara, Dave and Sally
Sunday - We stopped for a short, cold, windy visit in the ghost town of Rhyolite just down the road from Beatty. Then as we entered The Valley we noticed wind blowing off the sand dunes. We also noticed that the alluvial fans were covered in small green plants; soon to be wildflower blooms.
We drove up the alluvial fan to the mouth of Titus Canyon and began our first hike - about 5.5 miles round trip. The road in the canyon has been closed for months due to heavy flash floods, but the canyon was as beautiful as ever. Then we settled in to our cozy rooms at Stovepipe Wells.
A short drive north took us to the trail head for a cross-country hike to Artist's Palette. Artist's Drive has also been closed for months, so the only access is on foot. We were the only ones there which made for a quiet, peaceful experience. Part of the 5.2 mile hike was on the remnants of the road. Chuck explored side canyons in search of GOLD. After lunch we hiked back and made a short visit to the Borax Museum at Furnace Creek.
Tuesday - We headed north to visit Scotty's Castle. After a great tour, we drove a short distance to Ubehebe Crater. While Dave P. went into the belly of the beast and power-walked back up, others took a walk around the rim.
Later that day, we hiked out to the sand dunes for a somewhat gritty hors d'oeuvre party. The wind was blowing pretty good, but the dunes were as gorgeous as ever.
Wednesday - After a quick stop at Harmony Borax Works we headed down the Devil's Golf Course road which had just opened after more than a month of closure due to flooding. We picked our way across the salt pinnacles in search of salt flats and pools, but there was still a lot of water there. The highlight was seeing the normally dry Amargosa River flowing freely. There were also very fine, thread-like formations of salt and Dave P. even claims to have spotted a salt shark!
Then we parked at Golden Canyon and hiked a 4 mile loop through Gower Gulch. Everyone swore that it was more like 8 miles by the time we finished. The power of the flash flood that had gone through was incredible, changing the canyons considerably.
On the way back to Stovepipe, we stopped at the Furnace Creek Inn for a quick tour.
Thursday - We left The Valley driving south on the Badwater Road and stopping for some great views and quite a few early flowers in bloom. We saw brown-eyed primrose, sand verbena, gravel-ghost and fields of desert gold.
Friday - After an overnight in Las Vegas, we took the Dam Tour at Hoover Dam before driving home under an Arizona Sunset.