Hiking the White Mountains – Marble Canyon

Lest you think all of my hikes are in beautiful places, let me introduce you to Marble Canyon. The trail to Marble Canyon was listed as fairly short and since it was such a hot day, I figured I couldn’t get much hotter. I was wrong, it was hotter than the town.

Being hot is my fault, I really don’t like air conditioning and even though the temperatures have been at or over 100° F most of the summer (38° C), I’ve only had the AC on for about a total of 24 hours all summer. It’s been a little uncomfortable at times, but then I drive to higher elevations and get cool. And, the temperature usually drops 30° every night, sleeping is much cooler.

The drive to get to the base of the White Mountains and the trailhead was several miles on a very dusty dirt road. There were areas where 4-wheel drive is required. When I finally got to a huge rock in the middle of the road, I got out and perused the situation and found I could just skirt around it. I traveled another half-mile before the road was impassable. OK, time to get out and walk.

Black Canyon Road.
Black Canyon Road.

The road continued between the black walls into an even blacker canyon. I walked for about 50 yards and decided that I needed to go back to the fork and take the right to get to Marble Canyon.

The trail begins.
The trail begins.

There was absolutely no shade except under the rock overhang on the right.

Was this the end of the trail for me (I'm not really a boulderer).
Was this the end of the trail for me (I’m not really a boulderer). There were steps to the left of the center boulder though, so I continued.
This was the end for me. I don't like grass and weeds (where snakes might hide). And these were prickly little buggers.
This was what was on the other side of the boulders and the end for me. I don’t like grass and weeds (where snakes might hide). And these were prickly little buggers.
Going back to the car I noticed this tree in the canyon. It must have washed down from higher on the mountain as there are no trees here. Supposedly there is a spring a mile up the canyon and it may have come from there.
Going back to the car I noticed this tree trunk in the canyon. It must have washed down from higher on the mountain as there are no trees here. Supposedly there is a spring a mile up the canyon and it may have come from there. The Sierras are in the far distance.

Driving back out of the canyon seemed to take forever and the map indicated that the road I thought I was on would take me out to the main highway.

The Owens River. The banks are washed-out sand and I'm right on top of it.
The Owens River. The banks are washed out sand and I’m right on top of it. UGH.

After engaging the 4-wheel drive again – soft sand in several places, I turned around and went back the way I came. In the distance to the south I could see the radio telescopes that are in the valley, so I headed toward them. The road had so many soft sand places, that other vehicles had started new roads to the side on the bank.

Can you believe that people would use this sign as target practice? Look how close the telescopes are!
Can you believe that people would use this sign as target practice? Look how close the telescopes are!

Cal Tech built these telescopes. Most of them were moved to the top of the pass where the air is drier (Science Anyone?) There are four telescopes still in the valley (I think they are too large to fit through the one lane road on the way to the top of the pass)

Amazing technology!
Amazing technology!

Another few miles out to the main highway. Whew!

6 Comments

  1. Love the picture of the huge radio telescope. But, I’m going to have to disagree with your opening gambit, because this hike looks beautiful too (at least to someone in the much damper UK..!)

    Like

  2. Love the telescopes! You are very smart, there definitely could be rattlesnakes in those bushes and among the boulders!

    Carol

    Like

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