For the third day of our trip, we drove out of Saline Valley and into Panamint Valley. There was one more canyon which I had been wanting to explore within the area located between Nemo Canyon and Nova Canyon. This was an area which I have been calling Nemo Slot just for reference purposes. We hiked into the canyon and checked out the right fork first. Then we went up the left fork and did find a very impressive slot which at first glance did not look hopeful. However, the slot surprisingly went on for quite some time and made the hike worthwhile. It was a great day.
For the second day of our trip, we drove out to Saline Valley and hiked two very nice canyons. In the morning, we hiked Chalk Canyon. Chalk Canyon is a short hike of about 7 miles RT which features one slot and two forks of white narrows. The neat thing about this canyon is the vast white-colored rock and dirt which covers the canyon floor, walls, and hillsides, including within the narrows. For the afternoon hike, we headed further up the road and hiked into the south fork of Tafoni Canyon. Tafoni Canyon was found and recommended by a fellow hiker about a year ago. The south fork contained three sections of narrows, canyon walls, and hillsides covered with tafoni formations, and a magnificent polished stone grotto dry fall. We hope to get back to the area to explore the north fork on a future trip. One report each will be issued for Chalk Canyon and Tafoni Canyon.
We have just returned home from our January 1-5, 2016 Death Valley National Park trip and it was great to resume canyon hiking once again. The focus of this trip was to search out and photograph some undocumented slot canyons and canyons with nice narrows. And our efforts were very successful. In fact, this was the best DV trip that I have taken in years, in view of how things turned out on all of the hikes. Joining me on this trip was good friend Tobin, another Death Valley hiker with great experience in the park. As an overview, here is a list of our hikes.
- Double Bridge (new natural bridge and slot)
- Chalk Canyon (narrows and slot)
- Tafoni Canyon (narrows and formations – south fork only)
- Nemo Slot (narrows and slot)
- Smoke Tree Slots (narrows and slots)
- Squeeze Slot (extremely tight slot)
Because the new trip reports usually take me 2-4 weeks per report, I will be posting a brief overview of each day’s hiking here on this blog. For our first day, I had identified an area within the park which appeared to have a nice slot canyon and perhaps a natural bridge. Upon hiking out to the location, we were stunned to indeed find both. There was a previously undocumented double natural bridge located directly at the entrance to a nice slot canyon. It was quite a great start to our trip. Because the discovery was so special to us, we joined Kauri for a hike back out to see the double natural bridge on our final day in the park. On that second hike, we all explored around the area a little bit more and discovered an additional nearby slot canyon which has the tightest narrows I had ever seen or experienced in Death Valley. I was only able to squeeze and crawl my way through 2/3 of the slot, while Tobin made it farther and Kauri made it all the way through. For informal names, I am assigning the name Double Bridge to the new natural bridge, Double Bridge Slot to the slot behind the bridge, and Squeeze Slot to the extremely tight slot canyon. This will be my first report that will be released in the near future.