Part 2-Pahrump NV- Death Valley Days, Again!

Welcome to Part two of the Desert adventure. I was remiss in not mentioning (in part 1) that China Ranch has the best date milkshakes on the planet. After traveling in the hot dry air of the desert there is nothing more refreshing than a freshly made China Ranch Date shake. Honestly. Yum!

After the Goldwell Open Air Museum we took a day for Titus Canyon in Death Valley. To see and experience the Canyon you need an early start and a whole day. Titus Canyon is accessed by a 27 mile one way (east to west) gravel, rock and 4 wheel drive road. I love dirt roads so this was an adventure. To top it off, there is a section in Titus Canyon that has PETROGLYPHS which were picked by the Timbisha Shoshone! The Canyon is a deep gorge in the Grapevine Mountain section of the Mojave Desert. The canyon was formed during the Cambrian era 500 million years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the place.

Leadfield is a ghost town we passed through on the east side of Titus Canyon. It was an unincorporated area 4,058 above sea level. The Western Lead Mine Company, particularly CC Julian, promoted a get rich quick scheme through false advertising to get investors. The town formed and boomed to a population of 300 in 1925 and was abandoned in 1927 as the mines closed (not productive). Mr. Julian simply disappeared. Even in the 1920s if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. The only person to make money was Mr. Julian.

We traveled through the Stovepipe Wells settlement on our way to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. When most people think of deserts they think of sand. Death Valley is less than 1% sand dunes. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is expansive and impressive. There are three kinds of dunes there: crescent, linear, and star shaped. It is also a protected wilderness area but they do allow people to go out on the dunes. Very nice. Bring plenty of water!

Next we were off to explore the Harmony Borax Works ruins. It is located at Furnace Creek Springs in Death Valley and it is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Borax was discovered there in 1881 by Aaron and Rosie Winters with William Coleman and Francis Smith obtaining mining rights. They were the original twenty mule team borax folks. The operation began in 1883 and collapsed in 1888.

Manzanar Internment (Concentration) Camp was a very somber experience. It is one of 10 camps where 110,000 Japanese Americans were held from December 1942 to 1945, during World War II. It is now called the Manzanar National Historic Site. This is a sad history of a dark time in our country. Reading and viewing the exhibits was overwhelming. How could this have happened in the United States of America? Can it happen again? We don’t tend to learn from our historical mistakes.

We took a day to experience the Hoover Dam and Lake Meade. The Dam is amazing and it was a great tour. It is on the Colorado River and borders both Nevada and Arizona and was built during the great depression, 1931-1936. It is a marvel, even by today’s standards. One story of interest to me was the Hoover Dam Dog. He was a part lab puppy that was born in 1932 in the crawlspace under the police department of Boulder. One of the workers started bringing him to the dam every day. The pup came and went with the workers each day and the commissary started making lunch for the pup. He carried his lunch bag along with the men. He went to sleep under a truck on February 21, 1941. He was accidentally run over and is buried on site at the dam and was honored with a plaque above his tomb. Hardened construction workers broke down in tears over his death and are responsible for making a place of honor for him at the dam.

The Chicken Ranch! No trip to Pahrump is complete without checking out the Historic Chicken Ranch Brothel, so we did. Got the tee-shirt! It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. We had to be buzzed in and out through the gate and the front door. It was a nice place to have a coke and get some souvenirs. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Lastly, we had a divine lunch at the Pahrump Valley Winery at their Symphony Restaurant. The food was deliciously savory and the ambiance outstanding as was the wait staff. It was a special gift that we gave ourselves. Well worth it. Give it a try if you are in the area.

That wraps up our Pahrump, Nevada adventures. Good fun was had by all! Please stay tuned for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Thanks again for reading.

Terlingua, Texas at Big Bend National Park – Feb. 21-24

We arrived in Terlingua, Texas, population 80/household income $87,949, early afternoon on the 21st. We parked the RV at Big Bend Resort and Adventure RV – $35.10/night through Good Sams. Terlingua is just outside the boundaries of the Big Bend National Park. 800,000 acres of wilderness and desert. The park borders Mexico at the Rio Grande. It is awe inspiringly beautiful.

200 million years ago the area was under an inland sea, which has left a rich fossil record. 35 million years ago volcanoes formed the mountains of rock, limestone and ash. The current landscape was formed by wind and flash floods on the mountainous terrain. The area is rich in fossils and human record.

While there we averaged hiking 5.5 to 6.4 miles a day. Carrying water with you is a must. All areas are in a wilderness, desert area and the temperatures were from the mid 70s to 80s. The area averages 10 inches of rain a year. There are a lot of dry creek beds that are subject to flooding if it rains at all.

Luckily, Big Bend was beginning it’s spring bloom and colorful. The elevations ranged from 1800 to 8000 feet of breathtaking vistas. The different light during the day causes the mountains and valleys to take on different looks. No place ever looks the same based on clouds or the change in light from sunrise to sunset. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of the panoramas brought tears to my eyes due to the shear beauty of it all.

The area is also rich in wildlife: mountain lions, javelinas, coyotes, deer (darker than on the east coast), rattlesnakes,Mexican bears, and many species of birds. There were were multiple warnings about staying safe in an encounter. Heed these warnings.

Big Bend is one of my new favorite areas. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Please enjoy.

Each year, during day of the dead all graves are “remembered.”

This is just a glimpse of the beauty. I’m now marking it from my bucket list. I do want to go again. Wonderful experience. Now on to our next adventure!