Valley of Fire

Traci and I met up with a bunch of friends in southwestern Utah for our annual first-weekend-in-March get-together. We left Price about the same time that Chris left Salt Lake City, and he ended up catching up to us at a gas station in Washington after I’d nearly run out of gas (which I seem to be doing a lot lately). We went to Paul and Pam’s house, where Eric and Sherie had already arrived, and had a nice dinner and drinks. The next morning we got a late start, piling into two Grand Cherokees and heading to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park. Our first stop was just barely outside the park near Anderson Wash, where we rappelled down a cliff to find a unique geocache called King Arthur’s Cache. It was a literal sword in the stone, but the placement of the sword in the cliff required the person belaying to swing the rope to one side in order for the person on rappel to reach it. Most of us took turns rappelling, and then we moved along and found another hilarious geocache. This one, appropriately named “Holy crap,” was a full-sized porcelain toilet that somebody had hauled up a steep and rugged canyon and placed under an overhang.

Sword in the Stone (King Arthur’s Cache, GC2PXWJ)
Sword in the Stone (King Arthur's Cache, GC2PXWJ)

Hiking up to the rappel station
Hiking up to the rappel station

Chris on top of the cliffs
Chris on top of the cliffs

Traci, Sherie, and Pam with Bosley and Charlie below
Traci, Sherie, and Pam with Bosley and Charlie below

Chris preparing to descend
Chris preparing to descend

Paul rappelling
Paul rappelling

Eric on rappel
Eric on rappel

Paul belaying Sherie
Paul belaying Sherie

Holy crap (GC3A45Z)
Holy crap (GC3A45Z)

A handsome pair of WJs
A handsome pair of WJs

We drove around to the park’s east entrance and saw some bighorn sheep alongside the road. They seemed quite used to people, continuing to graze while we took photos.

Me and Traci at Valley of Fire
Me and Traci at Valley of Fire

Bighorn sheep near Lone Rock
Bighorn sheep near Lone Rock

Bighorn sheep near Lone Rock
Bighorn sheep near Lone Rock

Next we hiked the canyon leading to Mouse’s Tank where there were many petroglyphs–and also a lot of people.

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

Mouse’s Tank petroglyphs
Mouse's Tank petroglyphs

At Atlatl Rock we visited the main rock art panel with a long staircase leading up to it. Traci didn’t feel like climbing the stairs, so she wandered around the base of the cliffs and pointed out some more petroglyphs to me. I went down to check them out and ended up hiking all around the rocks in the area, finding several other panels. One panel in particular–my favorite of the day–covered the entire side of a large boulder.

Don’t climb on rocks, ’cause you might fuck ‘em up more than this staircase
Don't climb on rocks, 'cause you might fuck 'em up more than this staircase

Atlatl Rock petroglyphs
Atlatl Rock petroglyphs

Traci at the Atlatl Rock parking area
Traci at the Atlatl Rock parking area

Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock
Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock

Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock
Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock

Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock
Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock

Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock
Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock

Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock
Petroglyphs near Atlatl Rock

As the sun went down we explored some of the campgrounds in the park, since Paul was wanting to return to spend more time later. I’m thinking I’d like to do the same. A trip back to Valley of Fire next winter may be in order.


Photo Gallery: Valley of Fire

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