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