Thursday, October 20, 2011
Death Valley: Natural Bridge and Devil’s Golf Course
The book describes the hike to Natural Bridge as a walk through a gently sloped canyon with a climb totaling 520 feet. It’s listed as a two mile hike round trip, but I probably only did half of that, and I certainly didn’t partake of the whole climb. The bridge appears early in the canyon; there are quite a few other geologic features here to explore, culminating in a “dryfall,” which marks an area that turns into a waterfall when it rains enough.
The kiosk at the trailhead explains all of the geologic phenomena that hikers encounter here, including different kinds of faults and arches, and mud drips. The view over the salt flats from the parking lot is awesome and intimidating at the same time…I found that I was amazed enough at the view and experience that I was more exuberant than some of the other tourists could take. I wonder whether they would enjoy a hike with me on my home turf in Shenandoah National Park.
Getting back to the car, I took a break for some refreshment and then headed to Devil’s Golf Course. That involves a drive along a gravel road out to a cul de sac, where there are some interpretive signs about the landscape, which begins abruptly off the shoulders of the road. Thankfully, few people walk out into the area here, so the landscape is close enough to natural for all to enjoy.