Tom and I took a hike that was (relatively) close to our compound last week. We drove up a road that leads to Titus Canyon and then hiked half a mile north and into Fall Canyon. This is another one of those “use” trails – not officially maintained by the park but with a clear trail. We went in the morning because the days have been getting progressively warmer. Temperatures are now consistently into the 80’s in the afternoon.
We hiked about three miles up into the canyon, turned around at the dry fall (couldn’t climb up it if we wanted to) and hiked back. All together, it was about seven miles.
The hike was wonderful. I am getting better at going up, so the elevation gain of 1500 feet didn’t bother me as much as it did when we first got out here. We didn’t meet anyone else going into the canyon at all, so it felt like we were exploring all on our own.
In the middle of Fall Canyon was a wide, open spot filled with weeds and tiny little butterflies. They looked like miniature monarchs. I didn’t have any luck getting a picture of them because they were moving so fast, but it was amazing to see all of them. We didn’t see them any other place in the canyon nor have we seen them anyplace else in the park. So it was really special to see them in this one spot.
The walls of Fall Canyon soared over 200 feet above us. Some of the walls were sheer from flash flooding and some of them were eroded and holey. There were all kinds of rock – not the variety of color you find in other areas of the park – but still beautiful.
We had lunch at the dry fall which marked our turn-around point. Then we headed back. We met eight people as we walked down the canyon. Eight people in seven miles! Most people who come to the park don’t bother to hike into the interior so we often feel like we have the place to ourselves.
One canyon may look much like another, but the Fall Canyon hike was worth the effort for the solitude and time alone with Tom. We look forward to exploring more canyons during our time here in Death Valley.