Monday, April 14, 2008

Mosaic Canyon Tour, Death Valley

Once the sand storm took over at the sand dunes we were ready for something a little less blinding. We washed the sand out of our eyes and headed over to Mosaic Canyon, which is very close to Stovepipe Wells Village. Forest Zoo, the great explorer was ready to be our scout and guide through the half mile canyon. Mama passed out the warnings to be look carefully before you placed your hands, feet, or behind. Never put your hands in a place where you can't see what might be lurking there. As quick as possible, Forest Zoo was leaping down the path, and climbing every rock he could.
The path is really narrow, slicing between colorful rock walls.

The patterns in the rock were a fascinating study in pattern.

Some of the rock was even marble.

One minute you were walking along in shadows, and the next minute you were in sunlight.

Mama got a little nervous about Forest Zoo climbing higher and higher.

He was always ready to go higher still, but seemed to know when the climbing required more skills

It was his exploring that found me the only wildflower blooming in the canyon.

He knows how to make Mama happy, just come scrambling back screaming "Wildflower! I found a wildflower! " Hope of a pleasant reward even made Mama climb up a few rocks. My best guess is that this is a Mojave Aster, but my field guide of Death Valley contains only one aster, so I'm not sure if it couldn't be another species.

Forest Zoo is already off in search of new vistas.

I stop and photograph some Desert Holly. It's silver colored leaves which are adapted to the desert to reflect sunlight and are turned on edge to reduce exposure. The plant grows and flowers in winter, relying on the wind, rather then insects, to pollinate it. It is dormant in the heat of summer.

We walk along the narrow winding path, enjoying the spring morning.

But even Forest Zoo stops to rest sometimes.

After one half mile, the narrow canyon opens up to a wider valley with broader views, and a big rock in the center.

We enjoyed our hike. By the time we got back to the car, the wind had died down, and it was time for us to pack up and move on south to the Mojave National Preserve.

3 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

La Tea Dah said...

What a lovely tour. Thank you! I have not been to Mosaic Canyon, so especially enjoyed myself. It reminds me very much of Lake Powell but in a much smaller way.

:) LaTeaDah

Lisa said...

I've never been there, but with the way you describe it and show such breathtaking photos, it feels like you know it.

It looks like you had a truly wonderful day. I hope you did.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I have been there and it was actually one of my favorite places on our whole Death Valley trip. I loved the colors and the textures of the rocks on the canyon walls. Were you surprised at how smooth some of the rock was....never expected that.

We got a ways out and then we heard thunder in the distance. We wanted to ignore it and move on so we did but then it got louder and closer and we thought we should head back. Then the sun came out....weird. We were there in late Feb so we had quite a few flowers and I was always surprised to see them blooming just about in the middle of the trail amid rocks and gravel. What a surprise.

Anyway, thanks for your account of the canyon. It is a great memory for our family.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom