Death Valley Spring -- March 2014

death valley map

Driving from Las Vegas, we started our visit at Death Valley Junction. eating in the cafe where we were treated to an hour video on Marta Becket who painted murals in the adjacent Amargosa Opera House. After lunch we checked out the Spanish Colonial Revival style hotel (owned by Marta) and toured the opera house. She had covered the walls with murals depicting an audience of historical dignitaries (European, Egyptian, and Indian royalty) along with nuns, ladies of the night, warriors, gypsies, and animals. The colorful paintings are on every wall surface including the ceiling. She also performed in the opera house. The murals guaranteed an audience.

We had visited Death Valley in spring 2013 with our Brazilian friends Hart & Isolda (some of the sketches are from that visit). Now, a year later, we have returned with Marin friends, Jeanette and Alan.

We stayed at Furnace Creek Ranch, a wonderful place for families with kids — a warm spring swimming pool, playground, shuffleboard, tennis courts, boules, golf, stables, bicycles and jeeps for rent. furnace creek rooms

Furnace Creek lodging


furnace creek inn

Patio area at the Furnace Creek Inn

One evening we splurged on dinner at the upscale mission-style Furnace Creek Inn.

general store

General store


mosaic canyon 3

Mosaic Canyon- Noonday Dolomite and Breccia

The park is a geologist’s paradise; so many natural wonders to see.

mosaic canyon 2


mosaic canyon 1

Mosaic Canyon

We spent our days hiking Death Valley trails and after that soaking in the warm spring pool.

pool sketch


golden canyon

Golden Canyon

red cathedral

Red Cathedral in Golden Canyon

Being a dry year, there were few desert flowers. In a wet year the park can explode into wildflowers. Yet there was no shortage of chroma in the landscape. The minerals in the rocks, whose colors changed with the light, made up for the absence of wildflowers. We were blown away on our hikes by brilliant crimson, green, violet, blue, and volcanic black rocks, bordered by tan sandstone, and gray and white talc and the eerie salt spires on the flats. There was snow on the distant Panamint Mountain peaks. 

stovepipe wells store

Stovepipe Wells

stovepipe wells



gas station

Service station

guy at bar  


Badwater Saloon, Stovepipe Wells

salt creek

Salt Creek - home of one species of pupfish


We toured Artistís Drive, walked the boardwalk at Salt Creek observing the endangered but playful pupfish, drove past the Devilís Cornfield, the Eureka Sand Dunes, the highest dunes in the state, climbed to Zabriskie Point, hiked Desolation Canyon trail, hung out at Stovepipe Wells at the Badwater Saloon, and looked up at night sky (the park is the third and largest International Dark Sky Park). 

artist pallette\

Artist's Pallette

desolation canyon

Desolation Canyon


zabriskie point

View from Zabriskie Point

Sketchbook list