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The Valley of Fire

This week we visited the Valley of Fire twice. This was an amazing experience! We need to visit multiple times to see all of the park.

Be warned! Jan & I both have active imaginations, love geology, love hiking, and think the red rock formations of Utah and Nevada are beautiful beyond compare to all desert scapes. That means when we get near these places, we act like little kids, and take lots of photos. We see animals in a lot of the formations (bears, turtles, elephants, frogs, a submarine, skull, dogs, and mythical creatures).

Hiking is a real challenge for Jan. She can’t feel her feet and lower legs, so hiking, especially on uneven surfaces like rocks, sand, and canyon trails, requires that she has to be very careful, uses a hiking stick (or sticks), and depends on me for balance. We do these trails slowly, and as a consequence, we have extra time to study the landscape, take even more pictures, and thoroughly enjoy the outdoor experience.

We take lots of water with us, even though it’s winter cool here (70’s), it’s still very dry. You can get dehydrated in this environment very easily, so taking our sweet time on the trails is to our benefit. We always let fast hikers pass us by. By going faster, they miss all the nuances that can be discovered in a desert canyon experience.

We saw a couple rabbits, snake tracks, kangaroo rat tracks, and shared our lunch with some antelope squirrels. First there were two, with no other creature in sight. Within seconds of sharing some crumbs of bread, two more showed up, then 6, and pretty soon there were probably 20! They darted between the bushes, ran under our table, grabbed a piece of bread, and were gone in a flash! This went on for 30 minutes. That was Thursday. Today, because there were kids around, not a single squirrel showed up. Next time!

There were people of all ages and physical capabilities on the trails we hiked. Some were agile, and whipped by us in a flash. Others meandered, enjoying the beauty. There were also people that needed one or two walking sticks to help them on the trail. One lady today also had leg braces. We saw children to octogenarians. The lesson is, if you want to hike these trails, you will find a way to do it.

The geology of this park is mesmerizing. These formations were formed many millions of years ago, from oceans going to and fro, to wind and rain. The only evidence of early people are the petroglyphs they left behind. I included a photo or two of those.

We have enjoyed our time here. It’s been a wonderful two weeks. Our neighbors have been very friendly, giving us advice on where to get water and dump our tanks. If we come back next year, a very high probability, we expect to also share in some potlucks and group campfires. We had a fire and cooked hotdogs under the stars. We hiked this mesa, and in the area. We didn’t kayak Lake Mead this trip, so that is reserved for the next time. The silence and peace here has been wonderful.

Most of all, we love spending all this time together. With all the stress in our country right now, we really enjoyed the tranquility of boondocking in the desert. We also had time to read our scriptures every day. We will be back to Poverty Flats.

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