Death Valley 2022: Panamint Springs & Stovepipe Wells

Wow, it’s been over a week since I’ve posted. Sorry about that.

I would like to blame my recent adventures in southern California, but I arrived back in Orlando Thursday morning and have just been taking a few days to recover. No good excuses, other than mental health and R&R.

Anyway, a couple of tidbits I gleaned from this trip:

  • The sun in the desert is hot.
  • The shade in the desert is not.
  • The night in the desert is cold.
  • The soft top we drove had me sold.
  • I have no idea why I’m rhyming.
  • I blame the first two lines and the timing.

Wut.

Anyway, this trip also marked my first time in Las Vegas. Must note that, while I loved the desert, I was less than enamored with the city. I’m not a fan of being blasted with slot machines and neon lights the moment I step off the plane. I suppose I also just don’t get the draw of gambling.

We drove through the strip before returning to the airport on Wednesday, just so we could say we did. Now I’ve been told that unless we attended some shows, we don’t get to have an opinion.

Alright. Ok. Fair.

But I doubt I’ll be staying in Vegas long enough to see them any time soon.

I’m biased and I know it.

Back to Death Valley. We weren’t able to go north and see some of the most grand sites because that requires special vehicles with tires made to withstand stones as sharp as knife blades. Suffice it to say, we rented a mustang. So we stayed on California 190.

There are plenty of exciting, desert-y things to see on the main road, though. We stayed at Panamint Springs Resort, which is a motel priced like a resort. In its defense, although the prices are high, it is the cheapest place to stay in Death Valley. Also, there was a restaurant on premises, so we didn’t have to eat Cliff bars and drink canned coffee or Michelob Ultra for every meal. Just most of them.

We hiked in Panamint Springs valley and among some of the foothills along the Panamint Springs range.

Panamint Springs Valley

We found life and beauty flourishing in the dust.

This flower sounds like nature’s wind chimes when blown in the wind.

We added our rocks to the cairn.

One of the cairns we found in Panamint Valley.

We hiked to Darwin Falls, an oasis near Panamint Valley.

It was about a three mile walk to the falls, some on the road, some on a gravel trail.
Pipes bring water from the Darwin Falls to Panamint Springs Resort. That’s where all the water at the resort came from.
These trees were filled with birds. Also, yes, it was chilly in the morning, so Shannon is wearing a jacket.
Reeds and grass near the creek coming from the falls.
At this time of year, the “falls” were more like small rapids.

We drove to Stovepipe Wells, where we trekked across the Mesquite Sand Dunes.

I never thought dunes could be so difficult to walk across. We definitely found it easier to walk along the ridges than to go straight over.

Lone tracks in a sea of ever-shifting sand.

Something I couldn’t quite capture was the silence. On top of the dunes, the wind gusts and fills your senses, but in each valley, the air is so still and the silence so complete and you’re left with the utter desolation of it.

Clay slabs between the dunes.

What’s Death Valley without a canyon? We visited Mosaic Canyon on our last day.

Marble forms along the walls of the canyon. Despite the heat, the marble was cool to the touch.
It’s hard to capture how small this canyon made me feel. I suppose I am small. Ok, hush.
Lovely. No touch.
Wasteland at first sight. But rattlesnakes, scorpions, mountain goats, desert burros, and mountain lions call this home.

Finally, some badlands for ya. We didn’t stay long at Zabriskie because we were heading back to Vegas and the airport, but we took a moment to snap some pics and wish we had more time to take the trail down.

Our view from Zabriskie Point.
These badlands formed when silt and volcanic ash filled the lakes in the valley.

And that’s all I have for now.

I gained so much inspiration from visiting even the few places we had time for, and you’ll likely see a few stories and poems with desert vibes.

Until then, cheers.

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2 responses to “Death Valley 2022: Panamint Springs & Stovepipe Wells”

  1. Highly recommend! My sis and I plan to go back next spring, and we hope to hit Sequoia National Forest while we’re out there. If you get a chance to go, let me know what you think 🙂

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