Saturday, November 16, 2019

Harmony Borax Works, Mustard Canyon, and Titus Canyon

(Clicking on the pictures should open them larger in a new window.)

Back to our regularly scheduled "catch up" posts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2019

The decision before we said goodnight last night was to get going earlier today and we actually were able to accomplish the plan. We were out the door and on our way before lunch.

Our first stop the Harmony Borax Works. They processed borax here from 1882 until 1889. The minerals were then shipped 165 miles over rugged desert to Mojave by mule team. (FYI Shirley and Ken, remember how we discussed where did they get the borax and we saw a trail? Maybe this was it.) A trail leads three miles northwest from the ruins across the salt flats to mounds of borax resembling haystacks. (A trail, in our book, never to be taken.) Information from brochure

Continuing on the same road we took the one way ride through Mustard Canyon.  A series of low clay hills colored by salt and oxidizing iron. (information from brochure)

Turning north we are headed towards a ride through Titus Canyon.
This is a 4x4 backcountry road that is a 26.6 mile long ride and one of the most famous trails in the area. The beginning of the ride took us over a mountain road, if I am reading the map correctly the Grapevine Mountains, with several switch backs.  Shirley and Ken took this ride several years ago, I remember her talking about it, and as we started up Shirley remembered why she had said she would not take the ride again. (I think I heard her say something under her breath about it was a good thing she loved us. Seriously Shirley, I know you hate these type of roads and it did not help that the guys in the front seat were narrating the ride, so lots of hugs and a big thank you for holding your breath, hanging on and taking it a second time with us. Hugs, Deb)

It was a beautiful ride through the mountains and the pictures tell the story better then words. The varying colors were beautiful and with the blue of the sky as a backdrop the views were wonderful.

The road.

Another shot of the road in the distance.

We made it to Leadfield which was an unincorporated community, and historic mining town in Inyo County, California. It is now a ghost town. It is located in Titus Canyon in the Grapevine Mountains, east of Death Valley in Death Valley National Park. Leadfield lies at an elevation of 4,058 ft. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The man who built the road.

One selfie , the guys chatting, and the Jeep is a little dusty.

After a quick lunch we started the ride through Titus Canyon. This part of the ride is the breath taking. Every turn brings new and different colors and textures The sun light and shadows add to the beauty as you look up at the sheer walls of rock, that at times, you are riding through. It is unbelievable to think about the force of water that created this wonderful place. One thing for sure you would not want to be caught in here in a flash flood. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Shirley spotted what looks like a mine shaft.

The sign said, Petroglyphs but none of us could see any.

When we saw these we definitely knew there had to be
water nearby.

A small pool of water from a spring just above it.

One determined plant.

This is not a drawing on the wall.
The whole wall looked like a mosaic.

Looking back at where we just drove out of the canyon.

Looking out at Mesquite Flat
and the mountains in the distance.

We thoroughly enjoyed this ride and the company. After coming out into the open we drove back to Sunset Campgrounds to sit and chat, there may have been adult beverages involved and then we had dinner. Tom barbecued chicken, I had marinated, and we enjoyed some beer margaritas, salsa, chips, and tacos. Finally when all our eyes were getting heavy we called it a night. Tom and I would describe this as a day of time spent well.

But if spent well
 the memories last forever!

We are so glad you stopped by.
If you have time to leave a comment we would enjoy hearing from you.


  1. When I think of 20 Mule Team I think of Wagon Train, the TV show. The drive was beautiful.

    1. We think of those same shows...:) It was a beautiful drive.

  2. Well we are going to have to give Death Valley another visit. We were not overly impressed the first time we were there but your last few blogs and shown me there is much more to see than what we saw.

    1. I know what you mean it was on our "bucket list" but thought it would just be hot and dry. Luckily we had friends who had been here and gave us some hints as to where to go.

  3. What a great job on this blog post Deb! Your pictures turned out incredible! Titus canyon is beautiful, just wish you didn't have to take the road to get there haha. We loved the time spent with you two :) Looking forward to more time later this winter!

    1. Thank you, Shirley, and I am really glad you liked the post even though you did not enjoy the first half of the drive a whole lot...:) We are looking forward to more time, also.

  4. It's amazing that the mule teams went that far over those roads. Lots of great history there.

    1. Not only the mule teams but 90 private cars came over that mountain pass in 1926. That must have been a ride.

  5. A fantastic history lesson. Love the colours of those hills, you have to wonder who names these places, don't ya? You have convinced me that we should visit the area at some point. Thanks for the post.

    1. I do often wonder about who came up with the names and why...:) I am sure you and Riley would enjoy all the hiking that is available here we did not even begin to scratch the surface of what is here.

  6. Great pics! Doug and Michelle