Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Carnival of the Arid #4 is Up! - and Titus Canyon

Chris Clarke posted the fourth Carnival of the Arid over at Coyote Crossing while I was away on a field trip to the Mojave Desert. This fourth edition of CotA is excellent, so please be sure to visit, read, and enjoy.

Speaking of the desert, here's a photo of a smallish lizard sunning itself on some limestone breccia near an old mining shack at Leadfield, in Titus Canyon, Death Valley, CA. I don't know what kind of lizard this is, but the body couldn't have been more than two inches in length.

Cambrian limestone beds forming the walls of Titus Canyon.

As for Titus Canyon, here are two quick photos taken not far below Leadfield. The first photo, above, was taken just above the location where Ron Schott created this QTVR image/photo. In fact, some of the same beds are visible in both the photo above and in his image!

The canyon narrows after entering Titus Canyon proper.

This second photo, taken a little ways downstream of the first photo, shows the general demeanor of the canyon before it narrows and becomes more of a slot canyon.

The Titus Canyon road is a one-way rocky and washboardy dirt road into Death Valley. Pulling over and passing other vehicles is not possible in some places, which is why it's a one-way road. We decided that much of it could be driven by the Prius (very slowly), but one or two parts require higher clearance than most small cars manage to muster. I recommend a high-clearance vehicle (I scraped once when diverted by the spectacular scenery), and 4WD isn't a bad thing, either.


Lockwood said...

I adore Titus Canyon. I've been through it five or six times, and each visit, I try to explore some new feature. Last year it was an old silver mine just up from Leadville (there was another field group that could fill me in on some of the details, which was nice) and a small oasis just down the road from the petroglyphs. I hope I get back there again soon... in the meantime, nice pictures!

AlishaV said...

Titus Canyon is my favorite place in the Death Valley area. My geology group went through it last March in our vans, but sent them ahead the last little bit and walked the rest of the way out. It was so nice to walk between the towering cliffs.

Silver Fox said...

Titus Canyon is a great place, and I don't think I'd been that way for more than 15 years.

Lockwood, we noticed the spring near the petroglyphs as we were driving past, but didn't stop. As it was, it took 8-10 hours to get from Beatty to Baker, because we stopped so often!

AlishaV, it would be great to walk out of the canyon! Titus is like some of the other canyons in Death Valley that people drive to in order to hike up. I always feel fortunate that there is a road so I don't have to walk up in the heat (or I could go in the winter, instead).