January 4, 2015, Valley of Fire, NV- I checked my social media messages this morning, and found a post which compared the temperature on Mars with that in Minnesota. Mars was reportedly warmer today.
I was reminded of our nearest planetary neighbour, once on the trails at Valley of Fire State Park, between Moapa and Overton, NV, northeast of Las Vegas. As you will see further on in this post, red soil abounds there.
I started the day with a hearty breakfast at Comfort Inn, joined by a family who were driving to Colorado, from San Francisco. They will have clear weather for their return, which is gratifying. After tooling around Vegas,unsuccessfully, in search of a Wells-Fargo branch, I just bit the bullet, paid the ATM fees and headed up I-15 to Moapa and the park.
The otherworldiness of the Southwest is in full voice, in Mouse’s Tank, so-named for an outlaw who hid out in this canyon. The westernmost Ancient Puebloans also settled here, in the 800’s. The Tank itself was empty today. Life in the Great Basin is always a balancing act. I came next upon Rainbow Vista, so named for the striated Aztec sandstone found there. The trail goes through a narrow, rough wash, to end with a gaze upon Fire Canyon.
The apex of the journey into Valley of Fire was at White Domes, a mass of limestone and gypsum. Several distance hikers were in this area today. Someday, I will be back and share their experience. On the way back towards the Visitor Center, I caught a few glimpses of the blend of colours.
Near the East Entrance to the park, a memorial is set up to honour Sergeant John Clark, who perished here in 1915, while en route from Bakersfield to Salt Lake City. Lake Mead National Recreation Area abuts Valley of Fire, to the southeast. Its terrain has less of the Aztec sandstone and more limestone and gypsum. The lake may be down, but it’s far from out. The scenery is still inspiring, especially around sunset. I enjoyed several stops along the North Shore.
Rosie’s is another amazing serendipitous find. A homey, relaxing spot, with well-prepared food and engaging waitresses, it’s perfectly positioned between Hoover Dam and Kingman. A plus is that one of the waitresses is also a baker. Tracey’s no-sugar added cherry pie hits the sweet spot, of the palate, that is.
One caution, being in a rural community:
JK. White Hills has a competent volunteer fire service. The stuff of holidays was still well in evidence.