Mordor (alias Death Valley)

“Today we entered the land of Mordor.” That is what John told me as we started to hike at Death Valley. He said this is what he envisions Mordor would look like after the One Ring was destroyed. A land so barren that nothing can survive. So for those of you Lord of the Rings fans, visit Death Valley and see if you agree. Perhaps I can get him to write his take on this National Park.
This is the hottest, driest place in the US and little does survive here. It is mainly rock, rock and more rock. Once in awhile in the lower areas you may see some scrubby brush but that is about it. However, it has a stark beauty all its own. We stopped at the visitor center to get a suggestion on a hiking trail. Because she knew we were headed back to Pahrump at the end she suggested Golden Canyon area. You start with the Golden Canyon trail then to Manly Beacon and finish the loop on Gower gulch. The total hike is about 4.5 miles. Golden Canyon is a pretty easy trail but as you head up to Manly Beacon it is all up hill and steep. We had to stop and catch our breath several times. From the top of Manly Beacon it is basically downhill, thank goodness. At the end of Gower Gulch there is a canyon area that is a little challenging especially for us shorties. This direction I was able to make it down the rock areas but I am not sure I would have been able to climb up some of those spots; my legs just aren’t long enough.
It was a warm day and luckily we dressed in layers so we didn’t get too hot. John forgot his pack and water so it was a good thing I filled the bladder of my Camelback up.  We had enough to share, but it was close. It doesn’t take long here to know the importance of enough water. I finished it on the way home.
This is the 5th National Park area we have visited this fall and winter. These places are all wonders of nature and I hope all of you get to experience as many of them as you can. That is our goal: to see the wild places is this incredible country.
Happy Trails............


  1. Since you came in from the south, you got to see different parts of the park than we did when we visited last spring. We came from Lone Pine. I'm inspired by your doing a 4.5 mile hike - I used to turn my nose up at anything more than a couple of miles - and my body shows it! I"m looking forward to longer hikes. I can do it. Love your pics.

  2. "At the end of Gower Gulch there is a canyon area that is a little challenging especially for us shorties."

    I hear you on that ... at 5.2 I get quite a few of those challenges too.

  3. Thank-you for the photos. It's a beautiful place and so majestic in it's barrenness.


  4. Great pictures today! I, too, am vertically challenged so am glad you were going down in that part of the trail rather than up. :)

  5. Great pictures. Somehow they look familiar :)

    There is more snow on the mountains than there was in November. Enjoy your stay!

  6. I'm vertically challenged too (5'1", but my husband, Mike (6'1"), is not. Makes for some interesting hikes. He climbs over the rocks with ease and I scramble. Hopefully, we can make it to Death Valley NP too. Love your blog!

  7. One of my favorite places, Death Valley. Love the Mordor comparison!

  8. Great pictures! Death Valley is on our list so many others, we're trying to hit all of the National Parks eventually. We actually looked at some workamping gigs there this winter but obviously decided against it for the time being. I look forward to your other observations. We learn so much from each other! Thanks for sharing.


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