Friday, September 17, 2010

Death Valley NP - Darwin Falls hike

The first park that we visited during our honeymoon was Death Valley NP. As it took as *only* 6h to get from San Francisco to the park's western entrance, we still had enough sunlight to go for a short hike there.

We opted for a 2.2 mile long hike to Darwin Falls near Panamint Springs that our guidebook introduced as "a must-do desert hike". The same guidebook called this hike "easy enough for young children". Well, I would disagree with both of these statements. I do not think this hike is "a must-do" for anybody visiting Death Valley and I do not think it is appropriate for families with small kids.

I guess if we had spent a few days in a desert and then had gone for this hike, we might have been more appreciative of it. Coming from the beautiful Bay Area full of lush green valleys, creeks and waterfalls, it was difficult to see the beauty of this hike.

As for its easiness, I do not want to claim that it was difficult (as it wasn't), but describing it as a "family hike" is definitely pushing it. More than once we had trouble recognizing were the trail was going and we needed to negotiate some boulders to continue the hike (Anil was ready to turn back at least couple of times...). Also several times we needed to cross a stream on slippery rocks, which I found a bit difficult in a long skirt and sandals, and I can imagine that a child with shorter legs and maybe worse sense of balance, might also have problems with.

The hike starts in a green valley full of birds:

One of several stream crossings:

Habibi trying to fly over the creek:

The waterfall at the end of the hike:

Other posts about Death Valley.