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.
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.
View of the canyon from above.
Mike finds more tinajas!
Note how gravel and rocks remain on the downstream side of the tinajas where the water dropped them as current slowed.
Valentine’s Day Tinaja
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? The shallow spots are all dried up.
Larry considers taking a drink.
These tinajas are full of red silt suspended in the water as well as teeming with larva of large gnats. Thirsty anyone?
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.
Near the top, Larry asks Mike to run into town and bring back some beers.
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 big, but not as large as ones from mastodons found elsewhere in Death Valley.
The walk out down a narrow canyon.
Back at Moby, Mike journals while Larry looks grumpy. In truth, he’s exhausted from a day of trying to keep up with Mike.
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Most of the world thinks Terrier should not be capitalized, but dog people and Terriers think it should be.
Fossil footprints – how cool!
Nice photography and documentation of Noah’s flood. Too bad the giant camels didn’t make it.
Very nice post. It was just like being there with you. Too cool.
“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.
Those are in Copper Canyon on the other side of the valley.
So we have heard. We will try to get in on one o the Copper Canyon trips some day.
Word for the day. Tinaja. The j pronounced ha or ja? Pulling our legs about the camel prints?
Janene. I am too old and too beat up to ever do these things, but I am having such a wonderful time living vicariously.
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.