January 23, 2020 Death Valley NP

I woke up early and decided to head over to one of my favorite places.  Zabriske point overlooks the gold canyon, and after today I think it is my favorite view in the US.  I have been thinking about places that I really enjoy, and Zabriske point at sunrise is hard to beat.  My writing style (military log book may be the best description) does not allow me to do justice to the beauty of Zabriske point at sunrise.  The way the light cascades over the desert and hits the different colored light is magical to me.  I could spend days on end watching sunrises there and never tire of it.

I do not have the photographic skills or equipment to do Zabriske at Sunrise justice.

Now that I was up early I had to decide what to do until my first planned event of the day which was a ranger talk at the old borax production site and mine.  I headed over to the visitors center to watch the park movie to get some ideas.  The movie was good and I enjoyed it but I did not get any ideas.  So I finally just started driving north up the valley to see if anything drew my attention and before I knew it I was near Beatty Nevada which is the closest source of reasonable fuel so I decided to head over there to top off Scout.  The fuel at the center of the park is $5.37 a gallon which must be close to the most expensive fuel in the US.  There are two gas stations in Beatty one was $3.20 and the other was $3.09 when I tried the $3.09 the pump told me to go see the cashier.  The cashier told me that their system was down and they could not do credit transactions, I asked about debit and she told me with a bit of an attitude that it was the same system and today was cash only.  I went down the street and paid the higher amount with a credit card.

I ended up being late for the ranger talk due to my running around Beatty.  I watched the last few minutes.  A lot of the people at the talk were like me attending every talk while they were in the park so I was beginning to recognize faces.  One guy told me I had to try the Indian Fried Bread Taco at the Timbisha Shoshone reservation in the park.  The Timbisha are the native Americans who lived in this area.  I decided to follow the recommendation, though I doubt this is really traditional fare of the tribe  as beans, cattle, and corn would not have been native to this area.  But as some one in France when I asked if a dance was traditional, he said no, but it could be in a hundred years.  So Fried Bread Tacos may be traditional Timbisha food in 100 years. I now have had one, and I can cross it off my list.

One of the original 40 mule team wagons used to haul Borax out of the canyon in the 1880’s, the rear wheels are over six feet tall.  The rear wagon is a water tanker as there was only water source on the 10 day trip.

I spent the afternoon hiking Mosaic Canyon a nice flash flood canyon with interesting rock formations.  The road to the trail head was a mess and gave Scout a workout, but the first 400 yards of the trail were worth the drive.  The ability of water to carve the rocks in the west never ceases to amaze me.   The rest of the hike was nice but not super spectacular.

Mosaic Canyon had about 300 yards where water has cut down to the bedrock which is quite pretty.

I ended the day with a nice ranger talk at sunset at Mesquite dunes.

Mesquite Dunes.

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