East of Las Vegas. West of Lake Mead. North of the Hoover Dam.
A Day in Valley of Fire State Park.
We start our tour of the Valley of Fire in and amongst the Beehives, wonderfully fabulous red rock formations, sculpted by the wind and the (occasional) rain over thousands of years.
It looks like some fabulously alien metropolis.
Valley of Fire, burning burning
I’m at the point of no returning
Valley of Fire, rock formations
Caught in a landslide of creation
A “natural bridge”. How many more years will it stand before it finally is so eroded it collapses under its own weight?
This rock above which looks like a duck-billed gorilla boasts petroglyphs carved into the stone by the ancient inhabitants of this land between 1000 – 2500 years ago.
Nearby the Beehives are petrified logs, fossils of trees that lived 150 million years.
Next stop, the visitor’s center…
… which, among other things, features Fred, the center’s own chuckwalla lizard.
Chuckwalla is his species’ name, but I couldn’t help imagining Fred serving meat snacks at an Indian call center…
Fred’s ready for his close-up, Mr. Danny.
Also seen from the Visitor Center while we munched on our lunch, Big Horn Sheep:
Now would be a good time to share the map of the Valley of Fire, as we push on to the next attraction.
Next we went to the rock formations called the Seven Sisters.
Here are four of them:
And the other three:
I like how the one at the right looks like a bust.
Valley of Fire, burning, burning…
Next stop, Mouse’s Tank.
Mouse’s Tank is a basin where rain water collects and is naturally stored. We will see it in a bit, but first we go along the trail to its location, a trail with many spots where the ancient natives carved petroglyphs into the rock.
The water basins where secret to the European settlers. But the Paiute Indians knew of them.
Mouse’s Tank is named after a Paiute Indian, Mouse, who in 1897 got into trouble with the law and had to flee. He disappeared into the Valley of Fire and was thought perished.
But Mouse knew where there was a secret basin that could supply him with water. For three months he stayed hidden in the desert, sustained by the water from the tank.
Eventually however he did leave the Valley of Fire, and was spotted and killed.
This is Mouse’s Tank; remarkably, even in the depth of August, there is still water in the basin, although the level is likely lower than during the months Mouse drank from it:
Now before you accuse me of playing carelessly with heatstroke, I only ever took my cap (and sunglasses) off for Ed’s photos, and that’s a big water canister you see in my pocket (with extra water supplies ever ready in the car). We kept well hydrated.
Driving up past the Rainbow Vista…
… and the Fire Canyon Road…
… and further up the White Domes Road …
Yes, somehow water and wind made this rock look like a blob of silly string.
And finally at the White Domes:
Taking the White Domes Trail…
… past the ruins of a movie set. A lot of features and TV shows (including Star Trek: TNG were filmed here).
… past a rock that has looks like Neapolitan ice cream.
… through a narrow canyon.
… past an unheralded but quite photogenic natural bridge (or natural peep hole).
… and always past that distinct Valley of Fire beauty.