What a gorgeous day out in the desert! I love that this loop is part run, part adventure. I decided to go counter clockwise based on the "Brews & Beta" direction recommendation. (A great informative listen to all thinking of doing this route!) CCW is definitely an easier direction in terms of going down most of the soft sand vs up. Many many cuts on my legs from all of the not so nice desert plants. It is easy to get a little turned around once in Dead Horse Canyon. I missed the turn for the saddle climb initially and kept going up past the Dead Horse Canyon Camping area.
Running down through the sandy, open desert, cross country section is fun and goes by quickly! I was nervous about getting lost in the Cottonwood Springs marsh and tried to stay high and to the right as suggested. I tried going straight down towards the spring initially and got lost for a few minutes in thick brush trying to find the water source. The dried leaves were rustling in the wind making it hard to tell if I was hearing flowing water or the sound of rustling leaves. I ended up moving on and thankfully finding the spring just down the trail. It was flowing well and full of green little clover plants! Further down the trail I ended up full on bushwhacking through the marsh and ended up with soaked feet. Not sure if that is avoidable or just part of the fun.
Beautiful, slightly warm, desert run! I love Death Valley this time of year.