The flashing neon lights of Las Vegas didn’t hold our attention for very long – something seemed to be missing? So we went in search of that something special and discovered ‘ The Valley of Fire’ Nevada’s oldest state park. What a find!
Approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Lake Mead and through intriguing desert terrain our camper van rumbled through the entrance of the ‘Valley of Fire’. Almost immediately, on either side of road, we were welcomed by enormous crimson rocks clumped together like hot coals in a fireplace. The desert had suddenly become a golden ember!
It wasn’t long before we had to stop the engine to admire the glow of the red rocks sitting against the crisp blue sky. Curious Antelope ground squirrels scurried about our feet as we clambered in and around the rocks. A small wedding was romantically taking place at a picnic spot and the vast open space appeared to be the perfect backdrop.
With our stomach’s rumbling we continued on our way in search of the RV campsite. It was easy to find and lounging in the comfort of our folding chairs, we greedily ate lunch as the sun warmed our skin. Adventure beckoned so our bicycle wheels finally hit the red dust and left the campsite behind. Wooden signs pointed us in various directions and we followed the one that took us to see the 3,000 year old petroglyphs high up in the red sandstone.
Lying our bicycles down in the dust we climbed up a stairwell attached to the giant-sized rocks. With each step I found my eyes drawn towards the view of the state park below. It branched out for miles in the dry air. At the top of the stairwell we arched our necks at the towering rock and there etched into its surface was a jumbled collection of various symbols and images. A fascinating piece of history in an unlikely spot!
With our feet firmly back on soil, our bicycles in hand, we hit the road again…It wasn’t long before we discovered small trails leading us to the remains of an ancient forest – pieces of petrified logs were scattered like leaves satisfying our curiosity.
My pink cruiser stood out like a sore thumb – It was clumsy to ride but the thrill it gave me out weighed any difficulty I might of experienced. The odd car would whizz by glimpsing life in the valley at top speed. We certainly felt as if we had the better deal with a warm breeze in the air and our spokes turning at a gentle pace on the smooth tarmac.
The road was long and straight and the beehive rock formations began to grow in size the closer we pedalled towards them. The round dimpled rocks resembled beehives big enough for a human. They were rather fun to climb and explore until pesky bugs decided to hunt us down and ruin our fun.
Back on our bicycle seats we back tracked and raced along the road in delight. We pedalled upon a T-junction and we made the turn following the undulating route. The road became sandwiched between rocks that soared high into the blue sky. Once through these rocks suddenly, the landscape spread out like melted butter becoming a plateau of candy coloured sandstone. We felt as if we were on a magic blanket ride winding along the road. Creamy Sandstone in the shape of Marshmallow puffs surrounded us. I wanted to slide on it as if it were a big bowl full of milky melted ice-cream. It was beautiful.
We idled leisurely spinning our wheels along the empty road. I was the enjoying the moment and was excited about exploring this fascinating environment. At the end of the road we let our bicycles stand alone and clambered over bunches of the massive white domes. They glowed in the sun.
We happily hollered for echoes in the confines of a dark canyon and played hide and seek in among the crevasses of the hokey pokey sandstone slabs.
We forgot the meaning of time and the sun began to rest its bright rays out of the sky. Finally we pedalled back to our campsite and were treated to shadows playing tricks on the landscape. We free wheeled back between the giant rocks which was thrilling… the shadows made the rocks feel as if they were giants chasing us from behind.
The Valley of Fire certainly sparkled for us. It flickered its red flames and easily entertained us with its powerful array of beauty.