Monday, June 16, 2014

Typhon Canyon

I have to admit that after I exited Typhon Canyon in Death Valley National Park, I decided I wasn't that thrilled with the place. I can't say exactly what left me unenthusiastic. Maybe it was the long, steep, difficult approach. We left the parking lot at Dante's View and hiked a lovely trail for about two miles before plunging along an extremely steep, loose rock spine that shredded at my toes and worked my thighs more than an uphill climb would have. Finally, we reached the top of the canyon and started the various down-climbs and rappels. I guess I judge a place by how much I enjoy photographing it. Perhaps that's a little strange to some people. Obsessive to others. But if I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much photographically, I get restless. And visually, the canyon was nothing, at least to my eyes. Because it had a lot of broad areas, there was a lot of harsh, hot light on colorless, featureless rock. The rappels were mediocre and run-of-the-mill.

So, I didn't look at the pictures when I got back all that much. Wasn't interested. Finally, I dove into them only because my friends had asked about them and I discovered that subconsciously (I guess) to compensate for the dreary scenery (again, my perception and not necessarily that of my friends), I concentrated more on the people I was with. I rather liked those pictures and that surprised me. As with a lot of photography, sometimes you need that distance to see what you've really got. So here they are.

Headed away from the trailhead at 6 a.m.
Dante Peak
Rich contemplating the route.
Rich down-climbing a tricky patch.
Kevin tossing out the rappel rope.
Scooting along another down-climb.
Kevin about go through a hole in the rock.
Annette about to negotiate the same hole in the rock.
I'm told this is a Mojave rattlesnake. I nearly stepped on it without knowing I was even close to it until someone else pointed it out.
Kevin, our meat anchor. He's backing up an anchor wrapped around a boulder.
Annette on one of the final rappels.

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