“In this glare of brilliant emptiness, in this arid intensity of pure heat,
in the heart of a weird solitude, great silence and grand desolation, all things
recede to distances out of reach, reflecting light but impossible to touch,
annihilating all thought and all that men have made to a spasm of whirling dust
far out on the golden desert.”–Ed Abbey
March 31, 2015
Darwin Canyon Wash to White Mountain Talc Road
3,700 elevation gain
Extreme is the essence of this journey from lowest to highest.
Today started with some fun class 3 and 4 climbing through Darwin Canyon, a fairyland of water and rock, then across the long hot Darwin plateau, and now finds me in San Lucas Canyon shivering in my sleeping bag so cold I can see my breath.
In addition, there was a very nice mix of characters, both human and wild. Ongoing entertainment throughout the day included: goldfish, various snakes, a very upset wild burro, a nice ranger that carried out our empty water bottles, lots of happy, hippy people heading out to Saline Valley, our personal fighter jets continued to escort us overhead, a gentleman in an old Ford with a bike on the back for when the truck breaks down, and super sonic speedy lizards.
And for the scariest…
At the end of the day hiking by headlamps in San Lucas Canyon, way out in the middle of nowhere, a camper truck was parked on the side of the road. Very fishy. We immediately were alarmed by flashing lights inside the truck and loud music and turned our headlamps off. Then we heard very loud mean yelling in another language that sounded like an interrogation, not a fight. Quickly Dan grabbed my hand and we sprinted about a mile ahead until we felt we were safe. Super frightening.
You just never know what the desert will throw at ya!
What We Did or Wish We Did:
-The guidebook description in the book “Hiking Death Valley” by Michel Degonnet of the route through Darwin Canyon is VERY helpful for safety and time.
-Get water before China Gardens near the falls, unless you want to filter out of the fish pond. China Garden is kind of dumping ground.
-We stashed water at highway 190 and carried out 6 liters of water, but if you have time an additional water cache 8 miles up Saline Valley Road would be helpful, especially if it is warmer weather.