Monday, September 5, 2011

Valley of Fire

Family vacation, three amazing weeks of traveling and camping in the West.

We landed in Las Vegas and after three days that were fun for some and boring for others we left for the Valley of Fire. Not too many people know this place because it is a state park and not near the most visited places in that region.  It is located 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Las Vegas. The park’s name, Valley of Fire, derives from the red sandstones formation that were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Iron oxide makes rocks looking rusty. When we entered the park I was astonished at how chilling this place was. Hardly any people on the road, red rocks, and a desert landscape surrounding our campsite. The temp was 110–115 F (44-46 C). While we were unpacking our camping equipment I was scanning an area around us. There were numerous lizards, bees (a sign said African killer bees !!) and small white tailed antelope ground squirrels; no snakes fortunately. I checked the campsite facility and discovered that there were very clean showers, that was a plus.
We set up a tent and decided to drive to a nearby lake, Lake Mead, to survive the heat. In the evening, on the way to the campsite we stopped at different places and hiked.

Valley of Fire
Red Rocks
Red Rocks
While we ate our meals many animals came to the water faucet at our site. Besides numerous ground squirrels and lizards we got a new visitor, black tailed jack rabbit, with its long ears it looked very cute.
At night the temp went down to 95 F (35 C) and we tried to fall asleep but it was hard. I heard animals running around and it felt very strange to sleep in a desert.

Mountain Goat
Courtesy of Marta Goraczniak
White tailed antelope ground squirrel
Courtesy of Marta Goraczniak
Jack Rabbit - Courtesy of Marta Goraczniak
Lizard- Courtesy of Marta Goraczniak
The Valley of Fire had users called Anasazi, who were farmers living in close proximity, who hunted, and performed religious ceremonies in this area. We saw many examples of rock art called petroglyphs that supposedly are 3,000 years old.

The Valley of Fire is an astounding place, a little isolated, a little spooky but I would recommend it to anyone who is travelling through this area. 

No comments: