Moby Goes Canyoneering

Towards the end of our week in Death Valley, a pal from Portland joined us: Mike Glane, high school chemistry teacher; loves all things outdoors; energy and enthusiasm of a Jack Russell Terrier. (Lori or Celia–is the “Terrier” capitalized? I think not but did it anyway.)  We left Moby and struck out for the nearest canyon. None of us had been there before. There wasn’t a trail. It’s not in any of our hiking books. But what a wonderful place it was, as you will see.

 

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First find of the day: a tinaja, a pocket in the rock that holds water. The pocket is formed over time when flood water and rocks scour the streambed. Larry can’t resist stirring it up a bit to see what might be lurking on the bottom.

 

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View of the canyon from above.

 

More tinajas!
Mike finds more tinajas!

 

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Note how gravel and rocks remain on the downstream side of the tinajas where the water dropped them as current slowed.

 

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Valentine’s Day Tinaja

 

Runoff from the red dirt hill above these pools has created a spectacular contrast of red stain on white rock.
Runoff from the red clay hill above these pools has created a spectacular contrast of red stain on white rock.

 

How long ago since it rained? T shallow spots are all dried up.
How long ago since it rained? The shallow spots are all dried up.

 

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Larry considers taking a drink.

 

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These tinajas are full of red silt suspended in the water as well as teeming with larva of large gnats. Thirsty anyone?

 

 

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Mike busts on ahead, scouting for a route out of the canyon.
Mike busts on ahead, scouting a route of the canyon. That spot in the middle that looks like a green shrub is Mike!

 

Flowers in the upper canyon.
Flowers in the upper canyon.

 

Near the top, Larry points out a few of his favorite secret places.
Near the top, Larry asks Mike to run into town and bring back some beers.

 

 

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Gorgeous colors

 

A stunning find on the way back out: the imprint of ancient camel footprints. For Tad, that's a trace or ichno fossil. Larry says these are likely several million years old.
A stunning find on the way back out: the imprint of ancient camel footprints. (For Tad, that’s a trace or ichnofossil.) Larry says these are likely several million years old.

 

These prints are bigger than modern-day camel feet.
These prints are big, but not as large as ones from mastodons found elsewhere in Death Valley.

 

The walk out down a narrow canyon.
The walk out down a narrow canyon.

 

Back at Moby, Mike journals while Larry looks mean.
Back at Moby, Mike journals while Larry looks grumpy. In truth, he’s exhausted from a day of trying to keep up with Mike.

 

 

10 thoughts

  1. “Ha.” As in haha. But the camel prints were not a joke. When we got to DVNP I picked up a copy of their newsletter, and in it was a story about ranger-led tours one can sign up for to go out to some secret location to see fossil footprints of ancient camels, horses, mastodons, and more. I even commented on it to Janene. Had I not read that little piece I might not have recognized what I was seeing when we came across the prints. But I seriously doubt the ones we found are the ones the rangers lead people to.

  2. Janene. I am too old and too beat up to ever do these things, but I am having such a wonderful time living vicariously.

    Thank you.

    sharon nesbit

    1. Sharon, I’m glad we can do that for you. It is only fair, considering all the vicarious trips I got to take with you in your Maude adventures.

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