Monday, March 14, 2016

Last Days in Death Valley


The weather report for Friday was 20-30 mph winds, gusting to 40, and a 50% chance of rain. Our three night reservation was up, so I went to the office when they opened and was able to get another site for one night just a few sites down from the original. We managed to get moved before the wind and blowing dust really got bad.

I saw that there was a ranger-led tour of the Furnace Creek Inn at 11, just down the road, so we decided that would be a good indoor activity. We found about a dozen others waiting for the tour, but no ranger. At ten past the hour a woman decided to call the visitor center, and was told the ranger was sick so the tour had been cancelled. It would have been nice if someone had put up a sign or something. So we wandered around and took our own little tour.


Here’s a very short history of the inn I borrowed from the internet.

1926: The Pacific Coast Borax Company decides to enter the tourism business by beginning construction on a magnificent Inn for guests to enjoy the beauty of the valley.

1927: The Furnace Creek Inn opens February 1, 1927 with 12 guestrooms.

1928: Ten rooms are added to the Furnace Creek Inn, completing the U Shaped Terrace level.

1929: A lounge and recreation room is constructed at the Inn between the Terrace rooms and the pool.

1930: Twenty one rooms, each with private balconies and fireplaces, are added with the construction of the North Wing. This year also sees the start of the popular Death Valley Days radio show.

1930: The Furnace Creek Golf Course opens. It is the world’s lowest grass golf course and the first grass course built in the California desert region.




After walking around a bit we sat down in the lobby and took advantage of their free wifi to check email on our phones.. The rest of the day was spent inside rocking from the wind, and watching the blowing dust and rain. Yes, we actually got to witness rain in the driest place in North America. It wasn’t very heavy, but continued off and on for several hours.

On Saturday morning I went back to the office and was able to get another site for one night, which meant moving once again. This time we were on the other side of our original Airstream neighbors from our first site, which made us happy since we got to spend more time with our new favorite dog, Otto. We also enjoyed the company of Otto’s owners, Jerry and Jimbo, but only took photos of the dog.

Isn’t that the cutest face? He’s a 7 month old miniature wire haired dachshund, and a real sweetheart.



That afternoon we did one last hike in Death Valley, this time in beautiful Mosaic Canyon.




I would definitely recommend this hike for it’s dramatic scenery and fun factor, as there is quite a bit of rock scrambling trying to find routes over and around boulders and dry falls.





We were both a little concerned about getting back down some of the climbs, but like I told Jim, that’s what butts are for!



After two miles the trail ended for us. There was no getting around this dry fall, although Jim gave it his best shot.

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I was tired of playing the changing campsites game, so on Sunday we headed off for Pahrump, Nevada. We really enjoyed our stay in Death Valley, and although we’ve been there twice now, it is so vast we’ve still only explored a small portion of the park. Next time…


  1. Really surprised about the inconsiderate behavior of the park in not 0osting an apology so you all knew the tour was cancelled. Looks like a beautiful place and perfect for staying out of the wind. To see rain there really is rare. How lucky. Really beautiful hike too. Wow that dry fall, gorgeous! Guess it's not too hot if you were hiking in the afternoon.

    1. When we're by ourselves we don't get out and get moving very early, so afternoon hikes it is! No, it was actually quite cool in the canyon that day. While we were there our hottest day was the windy, rainy day when it got to 86. We were so glad to have hookups, as there was no way to leave windows open with all the blowing dirt. It was in the low to mid 80 the rest of the week, so not bad at all with the low humidity.

  2. That dog is adorable. I am not a fan of wind, at all. Safe travels!

  3. Thanks so much for bringing back so many awesome memories. We loved that place. Mosaic Canyon is just incredible.

  4. I like the look of that Mosaic Canyon hike. Just need a rope for that dry falls and we could see what's beyond... I need to visit Death Valley one of these days.

  5. Glad you got a couple extra days, but moving is a pain. That is the cutest dog:)

    We enjoyed that hike, too. Neat colors and rocks.

  6. Rain is such a special gift in the desert, wind not so much. We rocked one night too. Furnace Creek Inn looks a bit out of my budget. Otto is Adorable! Mosaic is my favorite hike in DV so far. But like you say, so much more to explore there. Enjoy Mojave.

  7. Already tired of the wind and the season is just starting :-( I wonder if they built one room for each mule? Looks like a beautiful place, and that you were able to see quite a bit without the official tour guide. Love the hike, like a big playground! And that dry fall is gorgeous.

  8. This looks like such an interesting hike. I am going to bookmark it for later use. Although Elvis and Sophie are adorable, I can see why Jim was considering a trade for Otto. He is a looker!

  9. Finally caught up with your Death Valley adventures. Terrific photos and fun stories (as usual) and now I've got the bug. Thanks for all the info, too. Happy trails!

    1. Thanks, we really did enjoy Death Valley, just wish there hadn't been so many other people there. Luckily we had great neighbors in the campground.