2 Apr 2014--Our final all-day outing took us to Ubehebe Crater and then for a hike in Mosaic Canyon on Saturday, the 29th of March. We started the day by taking a long drive to the crater, where the Shoshone believe all life sprang from. It is still in Death Valley, but about 45 miles north of where we are staying. This is a huge hole in the ground, between 500 and 600 feet deep while stretching a 1/2 mile across. There is a trail around it that goes for 1 1/2 miles, so Cathy and I headed out to go around it.
It was quite breezy up there and cool, too. Better not get to close to the edge or the wind alone could push you off.
Off to the side of the big crater is a smaller one called Little Hebe, and that 2nd pic is Cathy pretending to crawl out of the big one.
This video shows the crater and looking back at the parking lot from about a 1/4 way around it. When you look back and see the cars on the far left, look into the crater directly in front of that spot and you will see some trails leading down to the bottom of it. Cathy and I weighed whether to hike down the almost 600 foot drop to the bottom...we talked about it almost the whole way around the perimeter...but finally decided it would be foolish to try. So we finally had to cry "Uncle!" The crushed rock we were walking on was quite loose, and not much better than walking on the sand dunes, so we figured it would take us forever to get back to the top. I could still be down there had I made a different decision! haha
Unlike most stuff in this park that stretches back millions of years, it is believed that this crater only happened about 2000 years ago. The volcanic ash and rock from the explosion spread as far as 6 square miles, covering everything here with as much as 150 ft of crushed rock in some places. The 2nd pic here shows an odd phenomenon whereby for no explainable reason rocks, some much bigger than these, leave large scrapings in the ground, some stretching quite a long way. The experts lean towards believing it happens from the wind, but some of these rocks can more accurately be called boulders, so it would have to be a pretty hellacious wind.
So after seeing the crater we headed back to our area of the park...a spot not a 100 yards from our RV Park, called Mosaic Canyon. This 1st pic shows why the place is called Mosaic...those rocks almost look like they are in cement, placed there intentionally, but they are not. This hike was probably about 4 1/2 miles, but not all flat like Golden Canyon. Ellen, you would have had a harder time here. haha
I love these flowers and am continually amazed how they grow out of the rocks. Makes me wonder how they got there? There were quite a few spots where we had to do some serious climbing.
But this section was not one of them. haha You would think from my hemming and hawing that I was 20 feet above ground, but the rocks were really slippery and as I get older I am more and more of a wimp! haha
You have to blow these pics up to see her, but Cathy made the mistake of climbing up this wall of rock and then had to wonder how she was gonna get down again. haha Check her out in pic #2 as she leans over to look how far down she might fall if she is not careful! haha
Fortunately, as Cathy was trying to figure what she was gonna do, this man who was about 70 years old came along and showed her the way back down to where I was by way of a much smaller rock climb.
This was adorable. Along comes this guy with his little girl, maybe 4-5 yrs old, and his even smaller baby boy strapped to his back. The baby had shoulder straps on that held him in his dad's backpack, but...a little dicey for me? The guy was from Russia...I tell you, there are so many Europeans out here with us, and they are not the least bit afraid to have their kids out here with them. Not only that, but a lot of them are 65-75 years old and in tremendous shape! I am continuously impressed by them.
On our way back.
These 2 pics are cool. Cathy and I were playing around with the camera and cell phone and got Cathy 2 and 3 times in the pictures. I love the 2nd pic!!! I started taking a panoramic shot with the phone while Cathy took off running...looks cool, huh?
The final shots!
So this wraps up our Death Valley experience. As I said in my 1st blog, I really expected this to be great, and I am happy to report that it was everything and more than I could have hoped for. And to top it all off, can you believe that it only cost us a grand total of $114.66 to stay here all week? (Didn't want you to think we were living the high life! haha) God Bless America!!!
We are now at a Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms, CA., ready to go into Joshua Tree National Park tomorrow to start a new week of sightseeing. I can only hope that everything ahead of us comes even close to what we have already seen. Keep your fingers crossed for us, and stay tuned!!!