Canyons 2015: badlands and badwater

A relaxed start. I woke just before the alarm clock and got out of bed to turn it off and grab my camera. I snuck out onto our balcony and, once my eyes got used to the bright light, took a picture or two of the mountains in the early (ish) light.

After that it was time for getting ready, including sun lotion on the legs as they were going to be in shorts for the first time since Zion!

We decided to get a light breakfast, although Andrew did mention that actually, he might be hungry, on our way to the diner. Just as well. This was our “light” breakfast. 

Before hiking we went to the National Park visitor centre, which is close by. They gave us some advice on our hike, namely to do it the opposite way round to the trail guide. So that is what we did. We parked at the Golden Canyon trailhead but set off along a trail outside the canyons and parallel with the valley. After 0.8 miles we reached Gower Gulch. The trail immediately had to wind up around the side of a dry fall and provided views over the dry wash below.

The trail twisted through the canyon, before reaching a couple of scrambles and a small rock climb. Just challenging enough to be fun without being scary, this led into a very tight, narrow passage before it opened out again to a wider wash.

The colours and shapes of the canyon made it feel like we were training for a mission on some other planet. We took the extended loop through theBadlands  that lie below Zabriskie Point. This area looks twisty and stunning from above and it was just as spectacular being in amongst it. 

Our route then crossed over towards Golden Canyon. We chatted briefly to a couple of other hikers but, for the most part, Gower Gulch and the Badlands were very quiet. The other hikers do help provide scale, though, in some photos!

The trail finished by descending down Golden Canyon. Far more ‘tourists’ in this canyon (and by that I mean flip flops and jeans and very clean clothes…!). It was definitely the best way round to do the hike.

 Afterwards we drove to Badwater and walked out onto the salt basin. I was hoping to get some photos of nice hexagonal salt patterns in the late afternoon light. The light was good, but I didn’t find any really good patterns that lived up to images I have seen. Ah well, I will have to come back and try again!

 We finished up by driving back via Artist’s Drive in the sunset/fading light.

 Back at the Ranch we dropped in to the general store and browsed (purchases included a new book on day hikes for future trip planning!) before heading to our room for showers and changing.

Dinner tonight in the Corkscrew Saloon, as a change from the cafe/diner, and because the cafe menu only has one main veggie option, which I had last night. At least I can get pizza for variety in the saloon. 

Tomorrow we head back to Vegas, but we might just sneak in one more hike first…

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