For those interested in how-to, the Jeep rental is at Furnace Creek (by the lodge), and it costs through the nose--nearly $300 per day, plus gas. On the other hand, the cost of, say, destroying multiple tires on your own car and being stuck in the desert can be rather higher--like your life. So if you want to drive some of the gnarlier roads, I do recommend gnarlier tires than are on, say, a Prius. The jeeps seat 4 comfortably and a 5th person if the backseat people are tough.
Titus Canyon is a one-way drive from the hills east of the Valley down to the valley floor north of Furnace Creek. Along the way, we stopped at the ghost town of Leadfield, which lasted just one year.
|The road climbs over Red Pass (wonder why that name? :D ) before dropping into Titus Canyon.|
In Leadfield, a few building are left to explore. I believe this large shed was the "restaurant." Nice view, anyway.
Mines are what it's all about. You don't want to enter any old mines, but I shot this with a flash looking into the mine. The entrance was lined with corrugated steel, which made the interesting blue reflections.
Thanks to my sharp-eyed sons, we got a real treat--a chuckawalla, sunning itself on a rock. Chuckawallas are large lizards whose main protection from predators is to jam themselves into a crack in the rocks and inflate themselves until they are wedged too tightly to be pulled out. This guy chose to pose nicely for us.
|Due to habitat loss and, I believe, a proliferation of crows and ravens come for the garbage people leave, chuckawallas are getting a bit rare.|
En route to the Racetrack, one passes a famous spot--Teakettle Junction. I think it started with a single abandoned tea kettle, but now people bring them to leave, decorate them, and even ask you to email photos of yourself with their kettle!
|Second Son contemplates the selection of water-heating devices.|
Finally, the moving rocks! If you want to know how and why, read this article.
|It came a long way.|
We did miss most of the flowers (save that section of Titus Canyon), but the cactus bloom later, so we found some beautiful beavertail cacti in bloom on the Racetrack road.
Our trip took all day--from about 9 a.m. to after 7 p.m., and used a full tank of gas. It was expensive, but totally worth it!
###Copyright Rebecca M. Douglass 2015