For the past two months, I’ve been on a road trip to see places outdoors where I’ve never been or wish to return. I’ve been cherry picking places along the way. Seeing outdoor places with more time to savor as needed. The experience has been a delight.
The purpose of this road trip is two-fold:
- See many of the big name areas that I’ve wanted to see over the years, but haven’t had the time. Big Bend was finally seen, and Death Valley is on the horizon as just two examples. I have the gift of time, and I have been blessed to see it all
- And look on my handy atlas, and explore those lesser known places. See what they are all about at those green spaces.
The well-known places are of course phenomenal. But they are popular, and people want to make their pilgrimages there, too.
The lesser known places are what I seem to remember fondly. An obscure Texas State Park proved to give me one of my closest encounters with wildlife, and the somewhat obscure Pueblo paths ended up being one of the most phenomenal places where I’ve been.
And such a place was The Valley of Fire in Nevada. A state park, it seems a little less known than other nearby areas.
I was able to find a reasonably secluded primitive campsite tucked away by itself. Even the area around the campsite had exquisite red rocks, places to scramble, and (as I later found out) wildlife nearby.
The striations in the rock had yellows and pink that offset the otherwise dominant red color of the rocks.
And the historian in me enjoyed seeing signs of people who passed this way in the past.
The most popular hike in the park was somewhat busy, but not nearly as active as other places I’ve been over the months. The Fire Wave proved to have excellent opportunities for photography.
And as people left the park for the evening, the quiet interludes among the outcroppings were memorable as the day leads to the evening.
The following day saw me explore more. Just hiking. Combining loops from where I camped, linking together other trails, going to the Park HQ and back.
And just before I made it back to camp, I scrambled on an outcropping. And what did I see below? A herd of Desert Bighorn.
And the following morning around 6:30 AM, I heard the clatter of hooves outside of my tent. The same small herd was grazing nearby. I was able to get some captures without startling them too much.
Valley of Fire was a very memorable place. I think I enjoy these quiet, lesser known spots more in many ways. I’ll continue to look at my maps and see what wonders are within these green places on the maps.