Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Death Valley National Park (2)


After watching the sunrise at Aguereberry Point and exploring Eureka Mine and Aguereberry Camp we drove north on Emigrant Way until we reached the main road Hwy 190) and then headed east and south into the valley.  We stopped first at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and then at the old abandoned Harmony Borax Works.  After getting a tire fixed in Furnace Creek we went back up the road a bit and drove through Mustard Canyon and then on to Badwater and to Golden Canyon where we finished the afternoon's activities.

Highway 190 to Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes




The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are amazing.  They are located in the central valley near Stovepipe Wells and are easily accessible from the main road, not the case with other areas of dunes.  We would return to them the last evening of our time in Death Valley to catch the sunset there, but this day we explored them at the hottest time of the day, though in March the temperatures are nothing like summer with its incredible heat.  Even with the temperature around eight-five fahrenheit the dunes were hot and we were soon tired and thirsty.

 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes





Creosote Bush




Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes










Driving on from the dunes we stopped at the old Harmony Borax Works and explored that area.  These works were opened in 1881 and continued to produce borax until 1888.  The difficulties involved the summer heat which would not allow the borax to crystallize and the long distances necessary to haul the borax to market.  The company used double wagons and large teams of mules to haul the borax to Mojave and the "20-mule teams" became the symbol of the borax industry.  One of the old wagons is on display there with what is left of the works.

Death Valley





Harmony Borax Works





After getting a tire repaired at Furnace Creek and having some lunch we drove back to the Harmony Borax works and followed a short but rather rough road through Mustard Canyon and then went south to Badwater but did not stop there since it was quite busy.  Instead we turned around and drove to Golden Canyon where spent the rest of the afternoon hiking the canyon to Red Cathedral, a striking sandstone formation near the back of the canyon.  Golden Canyon certainly lives up to its name and we enjoyed the hike in spite of the heat and dryness.

Mustard Canyon and surrounding area






 Desert Holly



the road to Badwater








Golden Canyon














 Red Cathedral