After staring at maps and checking weather forecasts, I decided my next location would be the Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. High wind warnings, potential rain for the next couple days, and rather chilly temperatures all were in the forecast. I wanted to be nestled into the rocks of the Valley of Fire campground protected from the high winds, with power to run my electric heater since my trailer propane heater was on the fritz, and be on paved roads if it rained. The park would be a good place to hang out for a few days with the poor weather.
But getting a spot at one of the campgrounds wouldn’t be easy, especially if I wanted power. I had emailed Nevada State Parks asking about historic availability and was given rather grim news. They responded that both campgrounds had filled every night since September and advised arriving early mid week if I wanted to try to get a camping spot. The park was first come, first serve. Sure enough when I got to the entrance booth at about 12:30 I was told that at 11:30 there had been seven campsites available. Not really good odds that there would be one available for me, especially if I wanted a site with electric power. It would cost me $10 to enter the park to look for a campsite. Being a rather cheap/frugal person I turned around and went back west and found a camping spot on BLM land.
The next day I got going early hoping to snag a campsite. I arrived at the campground at 8:15 AM with a few other early birds and grabbed a campsite in the RV section. After walking around looking at the registration tags; seeing if there was an opportunity to get a better site, I realized that it looked like only five RV campsites were being vacated that day and they had already left. It was best to be happy with the site I had.
I unhitched the trailer and headed out to explore and see the rocks.
There was lots of petroglyphs in the park. Keep your eyes open looking everywhere. Look high, look low, look around the corner.
It would be nice if I could claim to be a hot shot wildlife photographer with the photo below. But reality is, I was not climbing high rocks or using a big long camera lens to capture the photo. The sheep hung out at the campground and had little fear of people and unseemly stopped to pose for pictures. Although the photo was taken in a rather tame situation, for me it was still a thrill to watch them up close. They are gorgeous animals.
I had been told that desert tortoise brumate (similar to hibernation) until April and I would not see any tortoises on this trip. But as I walked in a remote section of the park, there they were – three tortoises. All sitting on their own rock about 50 feet from each other. What a treat, I had never seen a desert tortoise. I watched them from a distance and took their pictures but I wasn’t lucky enough to see them move. In my quick on-line research, it seems that being told they don’t come out of their burrow until April was wrong. They come out after it rains and it had rained the day before.
For fun I had my dog pose in the rocks. She looks pretty serious; she was focusing on being good dog and doing what I told her to do. Her leash has been cloned out.
When processing photos, I often ask myself: “Does color add anything to the photo?” Sometime color is a distraction. When selecting photos for this blog, I always choose color because mixing color photos with black and while would look ridiculous. But one of my favorite picture from the trip, I processed with limited color and I share it below.
- The night I spent on the BLM land was rather windy during the night with the trailer rocking and noisy. I learned that the best way to manage wind was with a glass of wine. After two glasses the wind disappeared.
- I found Verison cell service sometimes at the west entrances and on the White Dome Road. I had the best experience at the east entrance.
- This place is crowded with people. Go out early to explore. My favorite walks were the White Dome and Mouse Tank trails.
- The popularity of the park results in numerous signs. Laughingly it reminded me of the Five Man Electrical Band song – Signs.
Everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery
Breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?