172. Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire: It always seems so unlikely that you can find gorgeous feats of nature just outside of big, nasty cities. As it is with the Catskills outside of NYC and the Jundu Mountains outside of Beijing, so it is with the Valley of Fire outside of Las Vegas. On a whiskey whim, we fled the stale air of Vegas after only one night, for this place that we knew only by name on the map.

Me: “Valley of Fire.” That sounds fun.
Amy: Sounds hot.
Me: But it’s March.
Amy: Do they have showers there?

They did have showers, it turned out, in addition to miles of incredible petrified sand dunes and volcanic remnants colored every shade of fire but blue. Brittle to the touch, the rocks are sculpted by wind and infrequent rain into every manner of animal and swiss cheese shape and decoding them was easier than finding shapes in clouds. This was also another amazing campground, the kind that lets you nestle into nooks of old rock with no other campers in sight. We did happen across another VW camper that was a near mirror image of our own – same color, same year, same interior but with a middle aged driver and passenger – but that bizarro-world encounter was the most hubbub we experienced in three days there. The rest was petroglyph spotting, quiet walks on sand-bottomed canyons and stars, stars, stars at night. Without the buzz of neon for miles.

Photos: Indian petroglyphs up high; a walk in the valley and; swiss cheese.


  1. Krista says:

    Those photos are amazing. It would be worth flying to Vegas just to see that park. Wow.