On a lark, I scrambled straight up the south ridge of Ashford Canyon across from the north slot access to the Ashford Mine Works thinking this might be a short cut to the usual approach going past the Mine Works to the saddle between Ashford Canyon and Virgin Canyon. I don't know if this saves any time but the views from the ridge were just super which I would have missed following the traditional route.
I really enjoyed peering down into Ashford Canyon and the Mine Works after having explored that area last year so I knew what I was looking at. After bagging Ashford Peak I scooted down to the saddle and up to Desert Hound Peak enjoying the views into Virgin Canyon, Ibex region and the Panamints. It was also fun to read the peak registers and see the names of some of you and those of several park rangers that I've met.
I do not recommend descending via Scotty's Canyon unless you enjoy canyoneering or gawdawful bypass scrambles. On the positive side though, upper Scotty's Canyon is a delight with colors a plenty with curves and slots until you reach a 30-40 foot dry fall. Fortunately, I stumbled across an old miner's path leading from Scotty's back over to Ashford and from there I returned to the carpark.
This was an all-day hike from sunrise to sunset with perfect weather and I felt so lucky to capture eye candy mages of Panamint Pass framed by clouds and the sundown sundog was the best one I've ever seen in person. A lot of bighorn evidence but no sightings so you'll just have to settle for that friendly little sentinel on top of Desert Hound, a horned toad.
If I was not intent upon seeking decent image compositions for this video I would have finished earlier in the day but then I might have missed another fantastic sunset experience. I gave up trying to keep track of mileage but it was a long hike with a few really steep parts and the usual false summits that tend to demoralize when I'm already tired but it's always worth pushing ahead.