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.