California Dreaming – Day 18, Death Valley California

May 9, 2020 was the last day of our mini trip which took us through Death Valley.

The first section of the drive took us through sandy desert terrain. We had a planned hike into Golden Canyon, so although we made short stops to check out the dunes, we didn’t do a full hike into them. I happily stayed in the car with napping Jade on the stops while GP, Andrea and Michael wandered around in the dunes. I was still very much lower energy and wanted to save my energy for the hike. We did however check out the Harmony Borax Works. There are still active borax mines in Death Valley, but this one is long closed. It was started in 1883/4 and initiated the opening of Death Valley, and the formation of Furnace Creek. Large mule teams (the 20 Mule Team symbol of Borax) were used to haul the borax out of the valley in double wagons.

Next stop was the Golden Canyon Trailhead where we took the 5km round trip hike to Red Cathedral. The start of the trail was fairly flat with golden rock formations rising on both sides of the canyon. As the trail progressed however, the steepness and need to rock scramble increased. The golden rocks gave way to the magnificent Red Cathedral which rose in front of us. Andrea did an amazing job making it to the very top with Jade onboard. You certainly needed good footwear by the top where the trail grew narrow and slick. But the view from the top of the trail at the cathedral were well worth the effort.

We stopped at Zabrinskie Point for another great view back over the canyon, this time from the other side. And then off home, through the rest of Death Valley with more dunes and desolation before returning to our comfy beds.

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