Jim had read about a hike to a place called Grotto Canyon that “some thought more spectacular than Mosaic Canyon.” You get there by driving up a dirt road on an alluvial fan, 4WD recommended. Well, we had high clearance, but not 4WD, so we decided to try it. About a third of the way up the hill, the road gets very gravelly and slippery and the RAV4 was not a good match for it. Jim barreled along until he found a place he could turn around without losing too much momentum and we barreled back down the hill. When we got back to the solid ground we pulled off and hiked the rest of the way up. The fan is just across from Eureka Dunes, so we could stop and admire the views while we caught our breath–because in Death Valley, all hikes start up hill!
When the canyon narrowed we were impressed by the beauty of the rocks. Unfortunately, a 10 foot high dry waterfall blocked our way. Some people with rock climbing experience climbers were right behind us and made it up the first dry waterfall, but not the one after it. We scrambled up an alternate route of big rocks, but also found the way was going to be tough going with a series of smaller waterfalls, so we headed back down. On the way down I proved again my ability to attract nettles on two continents.
We couldn’t go as far as we wanted, but we had a nice walk, got some lovely pictures and enjoyed the bit of the narrow canyon we got to see.
We stopped at the Ranch to continue our tradition of having ice cream if we’re below sea level. The wind had finally calmed and the weather was nice enough we enjoyed some time out on the deck at the Inn, admiring the view, reading, and napping. After dinner, we headed out to the Harmony Borax works for some more sky photos.
No new mammal sightings today.