Photo Friday: Back to the Valley of Fire

I'm linking up this week with the First Friday Photo bloghop from Many Worlds From Many Minds. If you like to post photos, join in and help Eden Mabee grow this start-up hop.

Back in March I shared photos from a 2021 visit to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Last month I went back for another visit and a few more trails among the stunning rock features of that park. My timing was awful--it was Easter Week and thus spring break for way too many people, so the park was crowded and campgrounds full. Nonetheless I found a place to crash outside the park, and trails are never crowded at the crack of dawn.

I drove into the park in the afternoon and caught the low light coming up to sunset, doing a couple of short hikes to stretch my legs and see the sights.

Mouse's Tank
My first little hike was in to Mouse's Tank, which got its name from an outlaw who hid out there. The real attraction, as it turns out, is not the tank (which was dry, despite the wet winter?) but the petroglyphs along the approach.

Some things you can identify, some not so much.

This was one of the more extensive petroglyph areas I have encountered. There's been some weathering, but happily I saw very little vandalism. And may blackberry bushes grow from the entrails of anyone who defaces such places.

Maybe the tank wasn't dry, and I just didn't look in the right places. There's water somewhere, as proven by the large number of desert bighorns hanging out in the area.

It was too early (and cold) for lots of flowers, but in warm spots, the desert primroses were out.

Rainbow Vista
The light was wrong for the Rainbow Vista overlook, but I walked out there anyway. More primroses were one reward.

There was also a fun little arch.

Fire Canyon Overlook
I finished my afternoon with the short drive to the Fire Canyon Overlook, where the light was nice, as were the rocks.

Fire Canyon, I presume

By then I was getting hungry, and it was getting closer to the (incredibly frustrating) sunset closure for the park, so I headed out to find a place to camp. On a tip from some other hikers, I found a spot with just enough privacy for my micro-RV (the Prius), and enjoyed dinner and a very chilly night (with me snug & warm in my 10-degree quilt in the back of the car).

Piling on the layers and polishing off the birthday cake.

The next morning I got up as early as possible in the cold, and was in the park not long after the sunrise opening. I drove straight out to the Fire Wave TH (which at that hour had only a couple of cars from people more organized than I, or closer in). I hiked this trail in 2021 but the rocks are worth a return visit, and I found a few new things along the way.

The fire wave is the main feature, and I still haven't got a photo that satisfies me, so I suppose I have to go back.

I explored an outcrop just beyond the Wave and found this cool mini-arch, backlit by the early sun.

The eye of the needle.
For me rocks of this sort just cry out for close-ups and abstracts, and I took more than anyone would know what to do with. I'll share just a few.

Though the sun was out and it got warm, it wasn't hot, which allowed me to stay out longer than I might have. But eventually I had to move on. I had just one last stop to make.

The Cabins

The Cabins are a set of CCC-built structures used in the 1930s and for a while after to house tourists. They are built of stone and meant to at least sort of mimic the Puebloan and Ancestral Puebloan structures throughout the Southwest.

Each was a single room with a fireplace.

And each had a view.

From here, I had miles to go--heading for the Grand Canyon! You'll be seeing photos from the Canyon for the next few weeks, I suspect (assuming I get them edited in time)--watch this space!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2023
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  1. These are stunning. Thank you so much for sharing (and joining in)... I suspect were I to have done this same trip I would have done the same with little closeups. I tend to do that everywhere else I go after all, and it's clear there is a lot of inspiration to click that image

    1. I'm never quite sure what to do with all the abstract photos I shoot, but I take them anyway :) My sister-in-law sometimes prints them (mine or her own) on fabric and uses the fabric in her quilting art. That's pretty cool :)

  2. I find it difficult to get my fill of red rock. The desert surrounding much of the rock is appealing in a different sort of way.

    1. I agree. I also have some kind of deep affinity for the piñon-juniper forests that may go back to early childhood.

  3. Your pictures are stunning, and some remind me of Zion National Park. Valley of Fire has been on my list for several years. We drive to Las Vegas regularly, but we don't seem to get anywhere else in Nevada. Gotta work on that.

    Have fun at the Grand Canyon! I used to live in Flagstaff and take day trips to the South Rim. It's so gorgeous up there.

    1. Thank you. All of this was last month, so I did, in fact, have a grand time in the Canyon :)

  4. Amazing pictures. When my husband and I were down in New Mexico, we were able to see some petroglyphs. They were so cool.


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