Starting point for the backpacking loop is at the junction of Cottonwood and Marble roads (1,180 ft):
Steve and Brandon getting set to start another adventure:
For the first 8.4 miles, we followed the tracks of the Cottonwood Canyon Rd.:
Hiking on the road was relatively easy and fast paced:
Steve stopping by the cave which is on Cottonwood Canyon Rd.:
Heading into the 2nd Narrows of Cottonwood Canyon.  (Earlier, we had driven through the 1st narrows):
Conrad resting on the Wilderness Boundary sign at the end of Cottonwood Canyon Rd.  After going 8.4 miles, we were now at an elevation of 2,830 feet:
Steve stopping under the branch of a tree in Lower spring:
Brandon making his way through the overgrown brush of Lower spring.  It wasn't always easy, but we found a way to make it through:
A short time after leaving Lower spring, we arrived at Middle spring.  The trees were mostly bare because we were here in the late Winter.  At other times of the year, this can be a lush green place:
Kathy stopping near the place where we first spotted water coming downstream from Cottonwood Spring (the Upper spring):
As we progressed through Cottonwood Spring, we first hiked on the right side and then crossed over and hiked on the left side:
Regulations require you to camp away from flowing water.  The only practical place to do this in Cottonwood Spring is past the source of the springs, once you emerge from the thick brush.  We found a nice level area about one hundred yards away from water:
There were quite a few level sandy spots where we could set up our tents.  It was nice to do so after hiking 12.4 miles and ending up at an elevation of 3,630 feet:
At the end of the day, we pumped water from the springs and enjoyed our backpacking dinners:
Leaving Cottonwood Spring behind, we began the journey cross country toward the first of the two passes:
Dead Horse Pass photo 1
After we turned right and were heading even farther up Cottonwood Canyon, the first pass became clearly visible far in the distance (it is the low point in the ridgeline).  Click on this picture for better viewing if you would like to print it or see it in more detail:
Wild horses happened to be grazing directly in the path we were taking:
The baby horse was our favorite, but we loved all of them.  We walked around them to give them some space:
Continuing to walk directly toward the first pass:
Looking back at the others beginning to climb up toward the pass:
The best route to the pass becomes very clear as you get closer to the top:
Looking back once again to admire the snow covered mountains in the distance:
Looking down on our group as they are standing at the saddle which marks the first of the two passes:
Conrad and Steve standing on the pass before heading down the other side:
The path down was obvious as we progressed down toward the dry spring:
Dead Horse Pass photo 2
Soon, we emerged into a somewhat open area.  When you reach the base of the small hill with two bumps in the distance, you need to turn left to crossover into Dead Horse Canyon.  Turning right here will take you toward a canyon with impassable dry falls.  Click on this picture for better viewing if you would like to print it or see it in more detail:
Here we have reached the dry spring and turned left close to the base of the hillside and are heading back uphill:
Continuing uphill toward the second pass, which is critical to making a successful backpacking loop:
This is the first view looking down into the side canyon which drops into Dead Horse Canyon:
Around the first bend after starting to head down, this is the view:
Finally, the group here is looking down into Dead Horse Canyon for the first time:
And this was what they could see, a steep descent which was necessary to drop into Dead Horse Canyon:
Our group is now on the canyon floor and walking towards Lower Dead Horse Spring:
The brush was quite thick, so we had to make our way around it whenever possible.  In this picture, Brandon is crossing around a rock to avoid hiking in the brush on the canyon floor:
Eventually we found the flowing water.  The only practical place to camp within regulations was near the canyon mouth.  As you can see here, I have set my tent up in an area which was used by others at the junction of Marble and Dead Horse Canyons:
At the Marble Canyon and Dead Horse Canyon junction on Monday morning.  Left to right, that's Conrad, Brandon, Shawn, and Kathy:
We all backpacked down Lower Marble Canyon at different paces but would stop to meet up along the way:
Steve standing just inside the beautiful 3rd Narrows of Marble Canyon:
After going through the 3rd Narrows (more pictures on the Lower Marble Canyon trip report page), we continued hiking down canyon:
The next three pictures show you some views of us backpacking through the very famous 2nd Narrows:
The towering Marble walls appear to tilt over at an angle in this picture of Brandon passing through them:
Truly, passing through the 2nd Narrows was the highlight of the backpacking trip.  It was so incredibly beautiful and impressive:
Shawn stopping at the chockstone blocking entrance into the 1st Narrows.  Shawn is basically a professional backpacker who is currently working on completing the Pacific Crest Trail, so we were grateful that he took some time out to backpack with us in Death Valley:
Brandon taking the bypass around the chockstone:
Looking down the rest of the canyon from a vantage point on the bypass trail:
Soon we had passed through the 1st Narrows and we exited the most exciting parts of Marble Canyon:
In our final photo, Conrad is backpacking down the Marble Canyon wash toward our vehicle and the end of this backpacking trip:
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