March 19-23, 2011
If I had died in Death Valley, it would not have been of heat, but of a flash flood. Temperatures on this trip never exceeded 20ºC, and often were closer to freezing. But on a hike in Fall Canyon, which is known for flash floods and in several places narrows to a tunnel, thunder and an icy rain made me rush back to the entrance. In the end, there was enough runoff to spill some pebbles on the nearby road, but no real danger.
Canyon hiking remained the main part of this trip. Every turn on these hikes brought a change in colors, shapes, surface patterns, and rock composition. Flowers didn’t make much of a show this year – there just wasn’t enough rain this winter.
I stayed in Beatty, Nevada, and so passed by the ghost town of Rhyolite, just outside the park. 100 years ago this was a thriving mining town of some 5000 people, an opera house, and a stock exchange. Today, there’s very little left of this – a few ruins, a bottle house, and a railway station.