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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mazourka Peak - "steep, hellishly hot canyon"

 Mazourka Peak, looming above Independence, was our next destination.
After making a reservation at a motel in Independence we drove east past the historic RR site of Kearsarge.
Mazourka Canyon trends north/south unlike most of the canyons in the region that run east/west.
 Looking south at the hot, hot Owens Valley.
After 30 minutes we reached reached Badger Flat. On the drive up the steep, hellishly hot canyon the truck's transmission temperature warning light came on. Only the second time in the life of the truck. We pulled over, waited for everything to cool down and continued on after a few minutes.
 We set up camp about 1/4 mile west of the summit. It was wonderful to be at 9,000 feet and away from the heat down below.
Mazourka Peak is a great place to study the Sierra Crest. The summits of Lone Pine, Langley, Le Conte, Mallory, Irvine, Whitney and Russell are in the photo. When in the Owens Valley some people think that Lone Pine Peak is Mount Whitney but from this perspective you can see its true size. When looking at Mounts Mallory and Irvine I think about the camera that Andrew Irvine was carrying and how it might solve a 90 year old mystery. (After hearing Eric Simonson speak on the topic, I believe they made it and died on the descent because he said something that resonated with me. Simonson summited Everest on his third attempt and said that his mindset was, "I am getting to the summit this time no matter what." The 1924 Expedition was Mallory's third attempt.)

Mounts Williamson and Tyndall.
Several dragonflies buzzed around us in the afternoon. They must have flown up from the valley.
 The soft warm air of sunset surrounded our pleasant camp. It was time to fire up the iPad astronomy app and look at the sky.
 Sunrise at our Mazourka camp.
 Down on the Owens Valley floor Red Mountain cast a long shadow in the morning light.
 While taking the photo above my shadow startled me when I noticed it in my peripheral vision
 View from the door of our camper.
 We relaxed and enjoyed the pleasant temperatures.
 Our 140 watts of solar panels were cranking out the juice.
 The Mazourka Peak repeater site.
 We drove back down Mazourka Canyon instead of north through Papoose Flat. I was in Papoose Flat preFWC back in the 90's and wanted to show it to Jan but she argued that extra time at the motel in Independence was her preference. After a nano second of thought I agreed.
Note: Later in the month Mazourka Canyon Road and many others were damaged in massive storm.

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