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Desert Southwest, Part Four

Day Seven

Today we had reservations for a 9 a.m. timed entry to Rock Canyon drive again, adn we took advantage of the early start to hike up the Calico Tanks Trail. These trails had been packed the day before, when we entered about 11:30. It was a fun scramble up to a surprising series of little lakes on top of the red rocks ...and lots of people, even tough we started about 9:15. 

Following the hike we drove the rest of the scenic drive again eating lunch at the Oak Canyon Trailhead, then headed for Death Valley, only to arrive at Furnace Creek in the middle of a fierce windstorm. Clouds of dust, tents blowing away. Chaos. The Texas Springs campground was completely full, so we camped in the vast gravel parking lot of the Sunset Campground. The wind continued to blow most of the evening, and we spent the time resting and then eating in the van--grateful that we were not in a tent.

Day Eight

We woke up to rain on the roof. The weather report predicted showers from from 5 a.m. to noon. But it was a light, gentle rain. We ate breakfast and organized ourselves, then went to the visitors center for the wifi connection. And we asked a few questions, as always. Later in the morning we drove the Artists Palette road and hiked around there between rainsrops, finding quite a few nice little corners of geologic color.

Then it was back to camp for a nap. In the afternoon we went the Borax Works and hiked up into the hills, where we topped out on an astounding view of the whole valley. Wow! From there we drove back out to the highway through Mustard Canyon. After dinner climbed the hills above Texas Springs for great sunset views.

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