Death Valley

Johnson Canyon, Death Valley, November 23, 2017

In narrows of Dry Bone Canyon I see spine and haunch bones, so perfectly preserved and white, below 30-60 foot unassailable pour offs–how did this animal get down here and why? but whaddayaknowthere are fresh hoof prints from bighorn sheep and burros headed straight for them. So are we, but we have a book about hiking in Death Valley to tell us how to go around them.

Was it the close encounter with a bighorn sheep in a narrow canyon that cemented my love for this park? Or realizing the immensity of barren landscape of rock, sand and creosote, the hardest terrain I’ve ever traveled on foot, when I gave up on a cross-country climb to Panamint Pass, turned around, saw an orange pink sunset, and got scared by the things that come out at night under a million stars in this great big magnificent glitch.


5 thoughts on “Death Valley

  1. Jeez, I wish I was hiking with you in Death Valley. The things that come out at night can’t be as awful as the things that come out at night in London.
    Will tell you one day about the mountain lions at Harts Pass…Meantime, hope it’s all going well. Great wririting as always!


  2. Hello!! I found your blog from from john z’s videos. Your writing is fantastic! I’m heading to death valley at the end of the month for a shakedown trip. I’ve done the marble and cottonwood canyon trip before so I was looking for something else. I have mapped a couple routes including one up johnson canyon to panamint pass then north along the ridge hopefully to telescope peak. I would like to know some more information about the johnson canyon route you took and anything else you might be able to add about that route.
    Thank you


    1. Hey Nick! Thank you 🙂

      My goal was to get to Telescope Peak from Johnson Canyon but I didn’t do it right, I tried for it all in one day from the salt flats and ran out of time and water. There is a very faint cairned route after Hungry Bill’s Ranch leading to Panamint Pass. It’s slow and rough cross country but really fun.

      There’s thick brush after the spring, I stayed mostly to the left on burro trails. I wish I had camped nearer the water source, then gone up from there.


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