Today I was able to finish up my report for Cottonball Marsh Canyon. This report is Part 1 of a two-part series of reports that documents our hike out to the newest discovered natural bridge in the park, which is located on Tucki Mountain. Part 2 will be coming soon and will cover the canyon that we hiked to reach the natural bridge. That particular canyon is a side canyon of Cottonball Marsh Canyon. Cottonball Marsh Canyon is currently listed as report #19, so be sure and check it out. In addition, about a week ago we finished updating our Star Wars in Death Valley page with the new match-ups that we did on our recent February 2013 trip. The new match-ups include one additional scene in Golden Canyon (2nd picture under Jawa Canyon) and an entire new series of scenes from the Return of the Jedi Blu-ray which has been named Lightsaber Construction Cave. More new reports will be coming soon.
Greetings, everyone. My site recently underwent some updates. As you may have noticed, the site was offline for a little over a week. This was for two reasons. First, we moved web hosts and transferred our domain to our new host. Our previous web host was charging almost 4 times as much as what we are paying now, so switching was a necessity to save on the monthly costs of keeping the site up. Second, we went through and revised many of our trip reports to make them more safety conscious for regular Death Valley hikers. A number of Safety Alerts were added to specific reports to alert hikers about potential major obstacles encountered on the way to hiking destinations. We also removed several reports which we felt were too advanced to keep on this site due to the fact that more and more people from the general public and park service are using this site to help plan trips. There are still many advanced hikes on the site (and more will be added soon), but we removed the ones which concerned us the most. We also shortened some of our reports to not show photographs and information beyond a certain point where the hiking turns advanced and requires more expert climbing abilities and bypass skills than most people have. Keep in mind this was all done to make the site more safety conscious and out of consideration for regular hikers. Most people won’t notice the changes. But some advanced hikers might. I just want all of you to know that we are concerned about your safety out in Death Valley and want to do everything we can on our end to help people hike safely. One other note, and that is that I have saved my old Blog posts and may add them back on here as I have time. During the transfer process, a new database had to be installed in order to get the blog back online, so that’s why the older posts are currently missing.
For our final morning in Death Valley, we needed to finish matching up some deleted scenes from Return of the Jedi in 20 Mule Team Canyon. And we were successful. The scene is a series of shots showing Luke Skywalker constructing his lightsaber in a cave. It took us 3 trips to 20 Mule Team on 3 different days to find the exact location. But we did it. The cave is now gone, probably collapsed on purpose by the park service for safety reasons. But we found the exact spot, which you will see later in my photos.
Today we had quite a sad experience while out hiking. We decided to hike Forbidden Canyon, which is a name that I have assigned to an undisclosed canyon on Tucki Mountain. Up until our hike, the majority of this canyon had only been seen by a few canyoneers. That changed today when we became the first known hikers to successfully bypass the titanic dry fall near the mouth of the canyon. We ended up being able to hike a full 3 miles into the canyon. It is a beautiful wide open canyon that ends for hikers at a 2nd major dry fall. We bypassed the 2nd dry fall but decided not to drop back into the canyon as the route was steep and full of loose rocks and bad footing. Our sad moment came at the base of the 2nd major dry fall when we came across a recently deceased Kit fox. It looked like it had only been dead a few hours or overnight at most. The Kit fox appears to have slipped off the dry fall for some unknown reason. It was a very sad sight and sobering reminder to be careful around dry falls. Today was 17 miles RT and was possibly my final hike in DV for 2013.
For our family day today we all hiked Lower Foundry Canyon. It was just about the right length for everyone and we all enjoyed the narrows toward the end of the hike. This was Stefan’s 4th and final hike and tomorrow is my final epic hike of the trip. For that, we are going to attempt to become the first group of hikers to ever get into Trellis Canyon West past the titanic dry fall located close to the mouth of the canyon. It’s gonna be a long hike up there of about 6 miles just to find out if we can pull it off. In the evening today, we also spent 2 hours searching high and low in 20 Mule Team Canyon for the location of a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi. We think we have found it and will go back before the trip is over to do photos.
Today we headed up Rock Nettle Canyon to check out the red narrows of the 2nd side canyon. And we were all very impressed. The best narrows are in two sections with just amazing red colors. We had perfect lighting in the late morning. We hiked the 2nd side canyon to its head and then headed back into the narrows to eat lunch and enjoy the setting. A very nice hike and day. This felt like an easy day compared to our other hikes, which was just what we needed. For our remaining two days, we will do one epic hike and one easy day. Congrats again to Kauri on discovering such a great place.