Hiking Valley of Fire State Park, Day Two

We saved our longest hike in Valley of Fire State Park for the second day. The weather was warmer that day, and so we got out early to try to beat the heat and the bright sunshine. It was the one remaining hike we wanted to do, and it took us down a scenic trail to the Fire Canyon Wash overlook where the trail abruptly ended at a cliff drop-off. The start of this trail is scenic enough that wedding parties come here for photos. 

It isn't the first time we've hiked a trail that ends at a cliff drop-off, and they are always spectacular. If you've been reading for a while, you might remember when we hiked the Pictograph Trail in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. Also, in a former blogging life, we hiked out to The Window in the Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park. I've linked to my former blog, Ribbon of Highway. Back then, I couldn't figure out how to include pictures and the link to my Picasa account seems to have disappeared. I was able to find it right here, if you'd like to see the pictures from that hike.

To get back to our hike in Valley of Fire, here was the associated sign.

The landscape was, as always, so vast that it's impossible to capture the grandeur in photos. Here is a panorama I took as we approached the trail's end.  Remember that you can make the image larger by clicking on it.

Just a little ways further, and we were there.

Here's what we saw looking over the edge.

This was an out-and-back hike of about 1 3/4 miles. By then, we were hiked out and spent the rest of the morning seeing things we could drive to. Just a hoop and a holler up the road was Fire Canyon Road.

Here's what we could see at the end of the line.

Not quite visible in the panorama is this formation where you can see the clear demarcation of the layers of sediment being pushed up from tectonic action.

From there, we went back to the park's main road and headed toward the East Entrance to see The Cabins. I absolutely love anything that was built by the CCC. How I wish we had similar programs today.

These were built to serve as a shelter for travelers passing through. 

They are constructed with native sandstone.

Each was equipped with a dirt floor and a rock fireplace.

Picture yourself as a traveler sitting next to your warm fire. You could look out your window and see this:

Or you could step outside for a better view.

After that, we'd had plenty of sight-seeing, and we headed out to the East entrance where there was cell phone coverage...junkies that we are...and then we headed back to the trailer and relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon. 

We didn't see a lot of mammals on our hikes, but we saw plenty of reptiles. These lizards were none too happy being photographed, but they held very still.

We saw this big fatty when we hiked out to Mouse's Tank. He was high up on a wall, and I could barely see my camera's live screen in the bright sunshine. I was zoomed way in, and so this was pretty much a lucky shot in the dark, er, bright light.

Here was another spotted guy.

Walking back from Mouse's Tank, we saw these two birds picking seeds off the bloomed out flowers. We thought they were a mated pair.

But then realized they were an adult and offspring.

Here again, I could barely see the birds on my live screen because of the bright sunlight, and so I owe this shot to pure dumb luck.

On the hike out to the Fire Canyon Overlook, we saw lots of animal tracks. These were left by a lizard. It looks as if he walked over one direction and then back out almost right in his original path. His dragging tail leaves that line in the soft sand.

This track appears to be a split hoof, left behind by a deer, or perhaps a bighorn sheep.

I suspect this track was left by a jackrabbit.

There is just one more post to catch up on these. Next, I'll be showing you every blooming thing we've seen in the desert. 

Today's activities involve driving into Henderson to visit the Quiltique quilt shop. I've been communicating with Heidi of Red Letter Quilts to arrange a meet-up there. Should be fun. Mike has a few trailer things he needs to pick up at the Camping World located in Henderson. We'll be in Boulder City one more day after today, and we're still trying to figure out where to go next. We planned poorly, realizing too late that Memorial Day weekend is coming up. Pretty much everything anywhere near Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is booked up, and so we're looking at alternatives. Part of the problem is that summer seems to have arrived finally with temperatures over 100 degrees. We'd go without hook-ups if we could, but it's just too danged hot for us, and for the kitties.

We've been looking through my overstuffed California folder, and found quite a few things to see over on the coast, including lighthouses and glass beaches, and that's probably where we'll head next. First, though, we've decided to go back to Pahrump and spend a couple of days at the winery there. Our 42nd wedding anniversary is on Wednesday, and that seems like a good place to celebrate with a nice breakfast or dinner. I'll say more once we've made some decisions about it.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Brown Family said...

I love the buildings of the CCC too. My Uncle had a heart mummer (he was a blue baby) and could not join the service. but he could work with the CCC. The town I grew up in was built by the CCC. The entrance gates and main building were all made out of native stone. When I was in elementary school, we had out scout meetings in the lower floor of the building. When I was an older teen, we went to dances in the upstairs room. I have seen many parks that the ccc built around Texas!

Dana Gaffney said...

You can see the heat in the pictures, I've noticed when I go outside here after lunch the light is so bright it's making everything look white.

Kate said...

Lots of critters. I love the photo of the two birds. You have really, really good luck!

quiltzyx said...

My Dad was in the CCCs as a young man. I'm not sure where he worked, but it was here in California anyway. Those are neat cabins! Wasn't it nice to see things that were "made" when we were young'uns with the dinosaurs?

Great shots of the lizards & birds too. I know what you mean about the sun being too bright to see the camera screen. Oy.

crazy quilter said...

Those are some really great dumb luck pictures. You did wonderful especially on th fat lizard! Glad you are having a great time.