"Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair" – Rick Warren
Continuing on the theme of things to do in Vegas besides gamble, let's take a spiritual trip through Valley of Fire State Park, where the rocks are literally set ablaze. To read the first part of this post entitled Lake Mead Echo Bay, click the link here: LAKE MEAD ECHO BAY. Las Vegas to Valley of Fire is about an hour drive one way. If you've had enough of the late nights, bright lights, booze and ooze, then make your way out to this mystical place. Valley of Fire State Park is a geological art show. The red sandstone, orange limestone, natural arches, and windy roads are sure to set your senses into overdrive.
Upon entering the park, you're given a glimpse of what the interior has to hold. A short drive upwards leads to the crest of Valley of Fire Highway, at which point you look down upon what one could only imagine to be the surface of Mars. A very early morning start to the day, allows you the opportunity to take in the scenery and photograph area's that would otherwise be crowded. As I continued to make my way along the highway, the sun was rising to the east as shadows were casted upon the multitude of colors bleeding out from the rocks. I would pass a groom and his bride having photos taken in their wedding attire and I could only look upon saying to myself, "maybe someday, I'll get to experience moments like this with an other." I smiled and continued along!
Valley of Fire State Park | Beautiful Landscape Photogaphy | Landscape Photo PrintsUpon entering the park, you're given a glimpse of what the interior has to hold. A short drive upwards leads to the crest of Valley of Fire Highway, at which point you look down upon what one could only imagine to be the surface of Mars ... Valley of Fire State Park | Beautiful Landscape Photogaphy | Landscape Photo Prints
Mouse Tank's road leads you through castle like formations of the red sandstone. It's an iconic spot and if you search the hashtag #valleyoffire on instagram, you'll be sure to see what I'm referencing. Much like when I entered the park, it was still relatively quiet, so I had plenty of space to take various photographic shots. The one I enjoyed most, is the one I'm sharing below. It's pulled back and gives the viewer an overall vantage point of not only the rocks but the famous trodden road. On my way out the park, the road was lined with instagram worthy shots. You know those ones I'm talking about!
Valley of Fire Las Vegas | Places to Visit in Nevada | Desert PhotographyI'd say this is one of, if not the most famous photograph with-in Valley of Fire state park. It's pulled back and gives the viewer an overall vantage point of not only the rocks but the famous trodden road ... Valley of Fire Las Vegas | Places to Visit in Nevada | Desert Photography
At the beginning of this post I mentioned about taking a spiritual trip through Valley of Fire State Park. This was my second trip into the park, so I wanted to have a more grounding experience hiking valley of fire. The night prior, I located the Top Of The World Arch Trail which is 4.4 mile loop through the backcountry of the desert. This trail isn't for beginners, as most of it is unmarked and the section coming down from the arch going clockwise can be super sketchy.
The sun was already blazing as I made way into the endless sands and rock formations. It felt oh so good to be out of snowshoes, snow pants, hats and gloves, and fitted into shorts, a rolled up t-shirt, hiking boots and head band. As I carefully plotted along, I began an incline up. It reminded me a lot of Sedona, Arizona, yet here I was 300 miles to the northwest. Eventually I came to rest along an over look which gave me a gorgeous view of the park below. I closed my eyes and took in all of the suns rays that I could. Making my way further along the trail, I was spiritually gifted with the ability to just blend into one with my surroundings. I was only 2 miles into the back country, but honestly I couldn't be any further away. The rocks sang, the sand danced, and the vegetation breathed life into my soul. I'd eventually make my way to the arch and enjoyed yet another view, but this time overlooking the western edge of the park. I sat and imagined dinosaurs roaming the earth. I wondered what it was like for the first people to witness these surroundings? Underneath the arch, hidden towards the back laid a military style box. Out of curiosity I opened it, and inside were log books of people who had made it to the top before me. I read through the catalog of entries which dated back to 2001. I had my book From Heartbreak to Heart Awake with me, so I decided to leave it. Inside the front cover I left a note which read, "for anyone who makes it up here and has a hurting heart, I hope this finds you well." When I mentioned this was a spiritual trip, hiking valley of fire was everything and more.
Desert Landscape Photography | Photography in Desert | Red Rock PhotographyThe desert holds secrets, in which silence brings about ... Desert Landscape Photography | Photography in Desert | Red Rock Photography
The final mile of the hike was spent in wonder and awe, as I relished in it all. My water was running low, so I knew I couldn't spend too much more time out there so, I headed back. Seeing my truck in the distance was a welcomed site, but what wasn't, was the prickly thing that ripped my leg open from kneecap to shin bone. OK, I'm being a little overdramatic there, but it did leave me with a gnarly blood drawn scratch. Here I was so excited about not having to deal with any bears, that I forgot about all the spiny things strewn about out in the desert.
There's a lot more to do in Valley of Fire state park, but for this specific day, I took in all that I could. If you're thinking of taking a trip from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire I say JUST GO, because you won't ever forget it.
Part 3 to come ...
To peep the first part of this series, click my blog post entitled Lake Mead Echo Bay: HERE
To sum ahead to part three of this series, click my blog post entitled Hiking Lake Mead: HERE
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