Sunday, November 25, 2012

Artist's Drive

Artist's Drive was one of our favorite destinations on the Death Valley trip. Above is the iconic view of Artist's Palette. But there's far more to explore along this incredibly scenic route.
This feature is just to the south of Artist's Palette. We parked off the side of the road and went towards it. I ended up going further, following a wash to its apparent source, this cave-like opening in the rock.
Here's the view from the top of the wash across the valley.
It had rained a bit the night before, giving us a day of lovely clouds. More rain came the next night, dumping a half inch and closing Artist's Drive indefinitely. We had planned to spend another morning exploring other spots along the drive--will have to save that for our next trip.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Badwater and Devil's Golf Course

Our first stop on our first morning in Death Valley was Badwater. Just like the sign says, it's 282 feet below sea level. There's not much water there--this pool was right at the beginning of the walkway. Some rare fish are supposed to make their home in the pool, but we didn't see them. The water is murky-looking, definitely what you might call "bad," at least for people.
We were lucky with the weather--a storm was moving in, and the cloud cover kept temperatures in the 70s. So, ironically, it wasn't hot. Lots of people etch messages into the saltpan. Most are hearts with initials, but we thought this one captured the spirit of the place.
On either side of the long walking area with the etched-in graffiti, Badwater pretty much looks like this. Some adventurous souls wander off into these parts, but we were happy to stay put and take pictures.
The walking's even tougher at Devil's Golf Course, which we elected to view and photograph from the parking area. These mounds of crystallized salts are shaped by wind and rain, and salts are still being deposited by occasional floods. This saltpan has been here since ancient times, and the entire landscape has an ancient feel.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hwy. 190 from Lone Pine to Furnace Creek

Back to the travelogue! After a couple of days in Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, we took 190 to Furnace Creek. This is just the kind of drive we like--a beautiful drive through remote country. Our first stop on the way was Darwin, a mining town gone bust. It's more or less a ghost town, though a few people still live there. Somebody's got a sense of humor, as evidenced by this figure and horse looking out through the window of an abandoned building.
The overlook at Father Crowley Point gave us our first taste of Death Valley. The plaque placed in his honor says, "In memory of the Padre of the Desert. From the snowy heights of the Sierras beyond the deep shadows of Death Valley. Beloved and trusted by people of all faiths. He led them towards life's wider horizon. He passed this way."
Next stop: the Panamint Playa, famous for its mud flats. Apparently, it had rained in the recent past--the usual mud cracks were largely filled in. However, we did find a few. This area is five miles down a dirt road and utterly silent, with scenic vistas galore and dunes nearby.
There was far more to see off 190 than we had time in one day. We did stop at Mosaic Canyon and walk up a short ways. It's a narrow canyon--the marble sides in the picture above were scoured smooth by water. Below, a detail of the mosaic-like stones that give the canyon its name.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

HOWL Cafe at Copper Mountain College, November 8


November 8, 12-1 pm
Room 401 (art/auto) 

Copper Mountain Community College

Coffee and Scones Served

Hosted by the Cultural Education Enhancement Committee

Sponsored by the Copper Mountain College Foundation


Caryn Davidson is a park ranger at Joshua Tree National Park. She has worked in the education branch for 14 years, presenting environmental education programs in classrooms, and conducting hikes with students in the park. She is also the park liaison for the Artist-in-Residence program. Some of her poetry and prose have been published in The Stone, The Pacific Crest Trailside Reader, GEO (German edition), L.A. Weekly, LAICA Forum, National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated series, and Interpretive Writing.
Phillip Rosenberg writes poetry and groovin' mythopoetic folk-rock you can sink your imagination into. His poetry has been published in Black Moon, Fine Homebuilding, and Hudson View. His book Raised in the Shadow is available in print at and as an ebook through He lives in Joshua Tree with his wife Catherine.
Cynthia Anderson moved to the high desert near Joshua Tree National Park in 2008. Her poems have been published widely and have received several awards. Her collaborations with her husband, Bill Dahl, appear in the books Shared Visions and In the Mojave, available at She is co-editor of A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens (Green Poet Press, 2011), available at

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 Selected poems by CMC STUDENT AUTHORS