We left Death Valley to do some re-supply in Lone Pine. Since Davey and the Whitney Hostel are no longer there we stayed at the stand-by and everybodys favorite, The Dow Villa. We decided to stay two nights as a storm was brewing in the desert. What an awesome stay in Lone Pine it was. I actually met two people I had met on FB hiking pages…Reno Dave and Ben Jones. Ben Jones is a semi-retired doctor in Lone Pine. He made note however since he was the only doctor in town he wasn’t necessarily semi retired! Ben ran his first Badwater Run (floor of Death Valley to Whitney, 135 miles) when he was 58. I believe he is now 83 and still very active in the running community. As I was walking out of Looney Bean( the local espresso bar) at 7am, Ben was walking out of a diner. We looked at each other and recognized each other right away. After a big hug we sat and chatted for a bit. It was such a joy to meet such a wonderful man.
Our next destination was Hole in the Wall.The great part about this adventure is that we have a wonderful friend and guide. TAJ knows Death Valley very well. After leaving Furnace Creek we drove for a bit and left the main road onto another bumpy dirt road (part of the journey). About two miles up we set up camp. Once again I was able to sleep under the canopy of stars. It was beyond amazing. The nights were windy and hot. I used my ZPack sleeping bag as a quilt and only slightly thought about the potential of a scorpion joining me for the night!! Falling stars in graceful motion filled the dark midnight skies. One night the most amazing of displays. From the east a burst of fire came hurling towards the west with a stream of light behind it. I gasped in delight hoping I wasn’t the only one to witness it.
The tiniest of birds would sing their morning melodies. It simply amazes me the beautiful songs they sing. Death Valley is so full of life. When one takes a drive through, without venturing off road they won’t see the exquisite beauty that resides in the depths of the valley. The slot canyons are magical. Tiny slit in the walls of a mountain winding its way up. The colors that greet you around every corner put the rainbow to shame.The way the canyons were formed is a result of water and wind, which both play such an immense role in the beauty of the desert.
One day we hiked into the slit canyon. I am still not totally sure what it means..perhaps a narrow slot. It was gorgeous. Big narrow walls rising above us, with the unclouded blue skies above. Magical. We got to a dry fall. This is where a waterfall would occur if there were water. Since there wasn’t, it was a very slick wall that stopped us in our tracks. We backtracked and navigated up and over it. Fun! A little scary. I had lost my poles back at Hidden Dune. TAJ let me borrow his, but the scree(since Patagonia) has always frightened me a bit. I swiped my leg alongside volcanic rock as I was slipping and as a result developed a little desert wound! Up and over and back down into the canyon. There were many ferns and sweet little plants growing all over. It was lovely. This is where I decided to bury the rabbits foot.
A kind of interesting feeling came over me as we were winding our way out. I started walking very slowly. I distanced myself from the group. I began listening intently. I felt….well honestly I felt I was supposed to hear something. A message if you will. Some of you know I believe in messages and signs from spirit guides, or whatever one may chose to call it. I am a spiritual being. Anyway…walking along very slowly . Walking where my body took me. Nothing special occurred . I didnt hear or see anything. But I somehow felt it. I love those moments.
As we continued to do the rest of the trip we sat and chatted over morning coffee what our hike for the day would be. One hike took us through a dry river bed nestled in a deep canyon and then over the top to a saddle in the distant mountain. TAJ made an awesome discovery. He found one, then the other Bighorn Sheep horn. They were beautiful and very old. We built a ceremonial circle around it. The desert evokes the spiritual in all of us I think.
I walk on,with love…