Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Gnome's Workshop

The salt stream
This fanciful small canyon is a wonder of salt sculptures and tiny waterfalls. The small path hugs the top of the canyon and sometimes drops down into the gully to see the salt up close. There are many whimsical spires and the small waterfalls in the canyon are rather photogenic. The water is highly briny, and the area is marked on topo maps as "Salt Springs." These small waterfalls cascade over small clay ledges and form grottos. On one of the falls, the high salinity has caused salt to form an overhang. As small as this canyon is, it is one of the most fun places to visit on the valley floor.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Robber's Roost

Robber's Roost. Walls have crumbled
While Death Valley is not known for its abundane of bandits and outlaws, one legend still remains. The Robber's Roost as is was known is a small rock overhang overlooking Butte Valley near Quail Spring with dry stacked rock walls protecting it from the elements. Lore goes on to say that robbers lived here and raided mines. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than an interesting anecdote. The history has been lost to time, but it was probably built to house the workers for a lead mine just up the hill from Robber's Roost.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Warm Springs Camp and the Gold Hill Mill

The famous swimming pool was clearly built by a
professional firm.
 The Warm Springs Camp is one of Death Valley's most well known and most well preserved ghost towns. It truly is a ghost town, with empty buildings and complete silence. The ghostly wind in the cottonwoods and the willows makes the atmosphere a perfect setting for ghosts. Warm Springs is also home to Death Valley's famous pool, filled seasonally with rainwater.

The Warm Springs camp dates back seventy-five years, back to the 1880s when water rights were first issued for this dependable water source. It was first permanently settled in the early 1930s when it appeared as Indian Ranch on USGS maps. Louise Grantham, to be the owner until the closure in the 1980s, patented a claim here in February 1933 to build a small gold mill to process gold ore from nearby Gold Hill and its associated mines. It was at this time the Gold Hill Mill was built; a stranger amalgamation of equipment is hard to come by. More on this later.