Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley

Mosaic Canyon was one of the most beautiful places I hiked during my visit to Death Valley.  I love rocks, geological folds and layers even if I don’t always understand them.  I drove up to the entrance and had lunch in the parking lot while I waited for the rain to stop.  It was just a drizzle and the final effect was to make the rocks all wet and shinny, bringing out the colors.
As I started up the canyon a common raven called as though it beckoned me to enter. I’m sure it was just calling its mate but I followed the call non-the-less.
It was like walking into a geology lesson with real life examples and Mother Nature as my instructor. I could see the layers of deposition and how they slipped and changed shapes.

Mosaic Canyon was named for a rock formation known as the “Mosaic Brecca.” Breccia is the Italian word meaning “fragments”.  This formation is composed of angular fragments of many different kinds of parent rock. You can see it on the bottom right of this photo.

Below is a close up of the bracca which was beautiful especially since it was wet.

I didn’t walk the full 4 miles but I saw enough to really appreciate it.  The canyon narrows, where the surrounding rock walls are composed of smooth, water polished marble.  Originally these rocks cracked and then water from the surrounding mountain ran through them creating these curvy trails of marble.

There were a few places where the stone had been gouged out and to me it looked like bone marrow, creating the illusion that I was looking at the bones of Mother Earth,.

At about this point I turned back and as I left the canyon the raven called again and flew over my camper.

When I arrived at the camper I was in for a nice treat. There were two ravens and they gave me a demonstration of their grooming and bonding. Notice that white spot on the wing of the raven on the left, it is the same on the other side. There must be a name for that but I couldn't find it.
Here is a link to the YouTube video I made or you can click on the photo above to take you to the video. Like most of the ravens I have seen in Death Valley these are easily approachable. Here is a link to another Raven video that I made showing the one with the spot walking about and cleaning its bill.  I put them on YouTube rather than in my blog because it seemed easier to access them.
They were soon bored with me and first one flew to a higher section of the hills and called. Soon the other one flew the exact same route and landed on the same ledge. I felt privilaged to share those moments with these two ravens.
Driving back to Stovepipe Wells I noticed a brilliant spot on the valley floor that was lit up from the sun shining through an opening in the clouds.
There was another spot on the hills in the distance.
The whole experience was magical for me.  

 Please also enjoy another good birding blog at:






~Cheryl said...

Wonderful post! We've been to Death Valley once, and I would return in a heartbeat. There is so much to see and enjoy. I certainly enjoyed meeting your ravens!

Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group Reading List said...

Magical indeed! Love the ravens, the shot of the one flying over the camper, and the lovely composition of the single "weed" against the light and shadow of the rocks.

squirrel said...

Thank you both for the nice comments.