Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

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Rockhopper
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Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by Rockhopper » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:53 pm

3/23/2018 – Arrived at Texas Springs at 2:00 PM. Temperature 82 degrees on the valley floor. Intended a quick hike up a small zigzag canyon north of Golden Canyon and then return down the neighboring one, but dryfalled out in the first set of zigzags. Hiked up the exit canyon instead, a mile or so of wash and a few fanglomerate pillars, with a tiny narrows and a skinny dryfall.

2/24 – Up very early to hike Mosaic Canyon. Saw no other hikers until we came back down the first bypass at mid-morning. Lunch at Stovepipe Wells, where we shared a table with a park ranger. Mostly we talked about how to succeed at retirement, but at the end of the meal we mentioned we were hiking Spectrum Canyon in the afternoon “...if Steve Hall’s information is accurate.” She said, “Steve Hall’s information is always accurate. If you’ve found your way to Steve’s website (http://www.panamintcity.com/), you’ve arrived.” Well done indeed, Steve.

In the event, instrument error and newbie navigation mistakes got us into the next canyon north of Spectrum instead. It’s a small, rock-hopping canyon. But it turned out well because we found some fossils: coral, crinoid stems, a fish backbone, some things I haven’t identified. Pictures to follow. The canyoneering guys had been there, as we also found an 8-foot loop of nylon webbing, well rotted, in the boulders below a fall-and-slot.

Then a short hike to a hidden spring with a small stream. And, in a dry canyon above, there was a passage under a fanglomerate slump block to a grotto. Possibly a fragile place not to be publicized. Seeking advisement on that.

3/25 – A day wandering around Artist’s Palette. First we did the Artist’s Dips loop hike from the Cunningham’s book (the Falcon guide), and then a 1-mile out-and-back on the far side of the hills east of the Palette parking lot. The route follows a narrow, fairytale wash. Saw small geodes weathering out of the volcanics. Finished off with our own 3.5-mile lollipop loop through pretty canyons west-southwest of the road.

3/26 – Unrelenting wind from the north. Walked out on the salt flats opposite the Natural Bridge turnoff, then tried the canyon south of Foundry. Not a good choice. The canyon below the first dryfall is short, and the sketchy climb left of the fall is too hard for us to try without protection. Then north to hike Mormon Canyon. What a relief to get into the narrows and out of the wind and dust. High temperature about 65 degrees, I think.

3/27 – Supply run to Beatty in the morning, then a hike up the second canyon north of Grapevine Springs in the afternoon. No existing route description that I know of, but then I don’t know the canyon’s name. If it has one. At any rate, a pretty hike with a few easy ledges, colorful rocks, intriguing side canyons, slickensides, a red-tailed hawk screaming above its nest, and no trace of people. Route description to follow.

3/28 – Foundry Canyon. Great narrows, wish it was three times longer! We could stem up the dryfall and touch the chockstone, or get up the slanting crawl to the overhang, but going higher was not for us. Lunch at the Furnace Creek, then a ramble up Gower Gulch and some of its side canyons. Lovely colors in the early evening light.

3/29 – All day in Fall Canyon. Somewhere above the third or fourth narrows we saw a band of 6 or 7 sheep heading up the ledges of the north wall. They make it look so easy. 100 degrees on the valley floor. Sheepish pictures to follow.

3/30 – A final morning hike: trail from Zabriskie Point down into Gower Gulch, then up the south fork of the gulch, and at last up a winding gully to the east. Traces of an old road in the winding gully, and a boron prospect near a pleasant, shady overhang (temperature 88 degrees, but it felt hotter in the pale badlands). Views of cliffs and Manly Beacon – we considered that perhaps William Manly hid his stash of breakfast meat nearby, and it should have been called Manly Bacon? Or Manly’s Bacon Beacon?

And on that silly note, back onto the road and home to Oregon.

Most of these hikes are in the guidebooks, or on Steve’s and/or Kauri’s websites. But if anyone wants more detail on any of the routes, will oblige.
Last edited by Rockhopper on Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

N0 02
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by N0 02 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:47 am

Sounds like you had a great time. Love reading other peoples adventures.

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Stincil
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by Stincil » Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:11 pm

PanamintCity.com is a great source for hikes that most people are unaware of. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks,

Keith

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:50 am

Loved your trip reports and hamming it up with Manly's Bacon Sandwich. When I have trips like yours in the park I never want the days to end. Thanks for sharing and agree with the shout out to Steve Hall epic efforts with his website.
Life begins in Death Valley

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Rockhopper
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by Rockhopper » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:25 am

Yes, one wishes the trip would not end. My wife taught her first set of classes (university) of the term yesterday, and said that "Death Valley still seems more real than the classroom."

Picture of her walking in Mormon Canyon: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... dUaURqRm9n

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:41 pm

Sounds like a great trip, if a bit on the hot side.
Always fun to find a spring out there, isn't it?

And it's always worth remembering that when it's windy / dusty in the valley, go into the canyons.

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wbdeford
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by wbdeford » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:50 am

The newbie mistakes that you make, and survive without major effects, are some of the most valuable experiences you can have. I made a bunch of them in my first DV backpacking trip and each one of them has stuck with me and prevented me from making them again in ways that could have been more costly.

I agree on Steve Hall. Great stuff! Thanks to his reports, I knew about the chasm near the Wyoming mine before I got to it, and I knew about the mud in the Cottonball Marsh, so I could use a slightly different route up on the alluvial fan. Just two of many examples of things I learned from his site.

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Rockhopper
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Re: Newbie mistakes, sheep in Fall Cyn, and a shout-out to Steve Hall

Post by Rockhopper » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:11 pm

Yes, indeed! I've spent a lot of time off-trail in alpine and subalpine terrain, and while I've been "little-lost" (unable to find a small meadow or pond which I know must be nearby), I've never been "big-lost" (confused about which way to go to get to a road or trail, and safety). I kind of understand glacial valleys, moraines, cirques, cols, and so forth. But the alluvial-fan and wash terrain is new to me, and I'm still not confident in discerning which wash or fan leads to a particular destination.

I'll get it, though I may be slow. And I will always know how to get back to safety. At 62 years old (and counting), that particular thing is imprinted in what little gray matter I have to call my own!

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