Springtime in Death Valley

Mountain Secrets

Tony KrizanMay 15, 2013 

April is here and it's time to gather up my hiking and camping gear for another trip to Death Valley. Last year the hiking adventures were great, but the gusting winds of over 45 m.p.h. made time around our campsite to relax impossible.

This year I decided to spend three nights at the Mesquite Springs Campground located close to Scotty's Castle and the Ubehebe Crater. Then I'll depart for the final three nights at Texas Springs Campground at Furnace Creek. Both of these sites are centrally located to view the historical locations within the valley.

While driving up to Scotty's Castle I was amazed that in this dry and hot location a small patch of green was following up the canyon. A natural spring was the start of this historic monument which was a dream of Albert Johnson (owner) and Walter Scotty Scott (adventurer). These two opposites came together and created this oasis in Death Valley. Check on the internet and you will be amazed of their accomplishments overcoming the obstacles of the early 1900's. Today the park service offers daytime guided tours through and around the castle.

Ubehebe Crater is a natural formation created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. One large and two small creators make up this historic land-mark. To all my hiking enthusiasts, there is over a mile of trails skirting around these art forms of nature. Both of these locations are within a ten minute drive from the Mesquite Campground.

To complete this day we drove over seventeen miles on a dirt and gravel desert road to the Ubehebe Lead Mine. The mines are sealed but the historic remains are their waiting to be photographed.

Drive another five miles and preview the Death Valley Race Track. This is the area where the stones leave their trailing mark in the sand while being pushed by the gusting wind. This is a mystery you will have to whiteness on your visit to this location.

Along this desert road is a cross road named Tea Kettle Junction. At this location years ago someone erected a sign and mounted, hung, nailed or any way to fasten these tea kettles to it. They are dated and signed from all locations in the world. Who knows what surprises one will find in the desert?

My next article will complete my final three days in the area around Texas Springs Campground at Furnace Creek.

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