Deep Desert Valleys Series #256

Eureka Dunes, viewed from the north.
We got outta Dodge over the weekend following Mike’s birthday, heading south to revisit Eureka Valley and adjacent Death Valley and explore a few of the many, many canyons there.

These valleys — along with nearby Saline, Panamint, and Owens Valleys — are thousands of feet deep and many miles long. They seem even larger if one sets out to walk through them, as we did in 2008 when we walked from Bishop south to Desert Center, a 425-mile journey that took 35 days.

Cottontop cactus, which can get quite large. This one was about 2 feet in diameter.

This weekend, though, ambitions were more modest: With sunny skies and balmy temperatures moderated by a cool breeze, we explored two unnamed canyons in Eureka Valley and camped near its big dunes. On our last day, next door in Death Valley, we walked up Fall Canyon.

Happy cactus spot at the mouth of an unnamed canyon, Eureka Valley.
Mike on a ramp of limestone, Fall Canyon, Death Valley.

We found a detour around the namesake Fall -- its top lip is at bottom center of photo. This little trail allowed access to the narrowest reaches of the canyon; we would not have been able to ascend this 15-foot dry waterfall otherwise.
One of the narrowest spots in the canyon above the dry waterfall.
Layers of multicolored limestone tilted at crazy angles are a common feature in this part of Death Valley.
Afternoon sun streams in near the mouth of Fall Canyon.