In my reminiscing about the 1960s, I have dwelled and probably bored you by meanderings into the canyons of my mind back in those smoke-filled days. But in the late ‘70s I discovered the Northern Mojave Desert and explored, camped and slept in many rock abysses. Surrounded by towering walls of splendor and ever-changing rock I found a solitude and tranquility in the human spirit so elusive in the everyday world I left behind.
Only a few canyons, and one in particular, are mentioned here, and some Maderans I have guided to the desert will recognize them. But pardon, if some I have saved for myself. Canyons so deep and places so isolated that you experience a quiet so immense you can hear the wonder of your own heart.
The best known canyon in Death Valley is Titus or, as an old prospector dubbed the narrow chasm, “Tight-Ass” canyon. More than 100 years ago, a young mining engineer named Morris Titus left the boomtown of Rhyolite, Nev., to the east with two friends, 20 gallons of water, some burros and horses to cross Death Valley and go prospecting in the Panamint Mountains.
The party quickly ran out of water, but on entering the canyon they refilled their canteens at Klare Spring. Taking a couple of burros, Titus went to look for more water deep into the canyon and never returned. One of his friends, a man named Weller, set out in search of Titus and he, too, never came back. The last of the three, known as Mullan, was found a month later, half out of his mind looking for a way out. He was taken back to Rhyolite. The family of Titus and his friends began a search, but he was never found. To this day no one knows what happened, but he has the most beautiful of monuments named after him...