Thursday, February 18, 2016

Death Valley

2/17/16 It's been quite a few years since we have been to Death Valley. We are planning to see the flowers, but also have found out that our ex brother in law is a volunteer camp host at the Furnace Creek Campground, so we will visit with him and his spouse.
It is still windy as we leave Lone Pine and the wind is kicking up toxic sediments from the bed of what once was Owens Lake.

 When we pass Keeler, Bill mentions that this is the place he would never want to live. Keeler is not only a poor, scruffy place, it gets covered in toxins blown from the old lake bed.

LA Water district is supposed to mitigate this, since they drained all the water out of the Lake. But Lots are for sale! Probably cheap.
Tom and Patty have arranged for us to have the overflow host spot right next to their camp host spot. Really nice tucked in between the tamarisk.

 Much better than the regular spots that are right out in the wind. Tom is going to show off his skill with dutch ovens for dinner.

 He has four of these in graduated sizes and plans to use three. First he has Patty and I slice up some apples, then he mixes up a batter to put on top for an apple crisp. He has a lot of charcoal started and when it is going he puts some under the first pot, they all have three legs, and some charcoal on top of the lid. Then he mixes together the ingredients for chili and Patty mixes up a cornbread batter. He stacks the pots up, largest on he bottom, then the medium sized, then the smallest.

 Each one has coals under and on top. Every 15 minutes he rotated the pots in a particular way. I think there is a pot like these in the garage. I'm going to have to try this. The food was great and the visiting was great.
It rained during the evening. Although it sounded loud in the RV, I doubt it amounted to much more than a dampening of the sand.
2/18/16 Time to head off. After saying our good-byes, we head out to drive around the park. Our choices are limited by the roads that were washed out back in October with the heavy rains. The road to Scotty's Castle is washed out . Lots of damage there. But we weren't planning to go that way. Worse news is that the road is washed out before you get to Jubilee Pass. The flowers are said to be best in the Southeastern part of the park. So we had thought to go over the pass to Shoshone. Good memories of the superbloom of 2005 when we were really thrilled with the flowers there.
So we will drive past Badwater and toward the pass then retrace our steps to the junction to go toward Pahrump and then to Shoshone.

This is just the beginning of the bloom. A skuff of Desert Gold flowers covers the rocks and sand of the alluvial fans with yellow gold. Occasionally we see a Notch-leaf Phacelia making a blue-purple patch.

 Bill saw these shallow pools. Maybe from last night's rain.
After we turned around, we take the scenic detour along Artists Drive.

On toward Shoshone through drab scrub land.
When we arrive we get a nice spot in the tamarisk.

 Just in time to get down to the warm pool.

 Ninety-one degrees in the water, but the breeze makes it cold when you get out.
 Another lazy day.

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