Valley of Fire Entrance
Our last real day (flying back tomorrow morning)â€¦but this is the hiking day for Kim & I! We made sure Eric & Spencer were well provided for and drove back up to the Lake Mead gateway. Arriving there in the morning made the 55-mile excursion up to the Valley of Fire a cakewalk, and this time we paid the $5 to enter.
Our path would prove to be the long wayâ€¦a twisty road that wound through the desolate wasteland of the Mojave Desert. I have never visited a major city before where everything so totally evaporates outside the town limitsâ€¦but Vegas is unique in this aspect. It was still interesting with many elevation changes and a remarkable, almost alien landscape.
But what really struck us was glimpses of Lake Mead extending at least thirty miles into our drive....who could comprehend something this huge!
Because I had never heard of Valley of Fire before, my expectation level was lowâ€¦and boy was I in for a surprise! At last we turned off to the State Park entrance and discovered an unmanned park entrance requiring a $6 entrance fee on an honor system basis --- you put your bucks into an envelope and drop it into a box. There were only a couple of other cars there and I struggled to break a twenty for a couple so they could satisfy the entrance fee requirement (I think $19.87 was all I had in small bills and pocket change, lol). There were a few trailheads starting from this location, so Kim & I took the one to Elephant Rockâ€¦which wasnâ€™t even a quarter-mile and deposited you back along the road, lol.
Some of the amazing combinations of colors and rock formations in the Valley of Fire
We got back into the car and drove into the parkâ€¦stunned by the rock formations. A brilliant place, and we penetrated to where there was a real tourist center that had employees in attendance. Ate our lunch (we had fortunately realized civilization was about to vanish while proceeding to the Lake Mead gate and scored some Qusinoâ€™s subs) and learned in the center that there was an abundance of petroglyphs here!
Next stop was â€śMouseâ€™s Tankâ€ťâ€¦another short trail that is remarkable. You plod through a fine red sand that is the detritus of worn down rockâ€¦an unusual desert indeed. I have been chasing petroglyphs for years with scant reward, but we hit the jackpot here! The rock walls are adorned with interesting images and we were both agog.
Me in the Valley of Fire
Unfortunately we were in the desert and the temperature was about 110 degrees --- Kim was wiped out from our jaunt and our hiking was appended after this venture. We continued by car to visit each site mentioned upon the map we acquired at the entrance and found this previously unheard of land fabulous!
Returning to Vegas, we took I-15, a significantly quicker path. A successful conclusion to our visit. Las Vegas has much to offer and we discovered it can be a true family destination, but I have no desire to return and will conclude this blog by expressing â€śbeen there, done thatâ€ťâ€¦â€¦