On December 21 Karen, Jade and I headed to Las Vegas. We were going to look after her granddaughter while Rosie’s parents went to a concert. After arriving we picked them up and went shopping at the outlet stores before going to our hotel, with Rosie, to get checked in. On Saturday Karen, Rosie, Jade and I headed out of Las Vegas to explore the Valley of Fire State Park. Incredible rock formations, hiking and petroglyphs! 🙂
We went in through the West entrance starting with some exuberant running around for Rosie at the Beehives. Then a quick walk down the Petrified Log trail. There were a couple of exposed petrified logs, remnants of an ancient forest from about 225 million years ago, fenced off from public vandalism. We carried on to Atlatl Rock, named for the large quantity of petroglyph depictions of the atlatl – a notched stick used to throw spears. The main tool used in hunting and replaced by the bow and arrow around 500 AD. Man roamed the area for thousands of years. Petroglyphs created by the Basketmaker culture about 2,500 years ago followed later by the Early Pueblo culture can be found here. Paiutes were living in this area when Mormons settled nearby in 1865.
We had lunch in the picnic area then off to the visitor center for a brief stop before going down White Domes road. Just before Mouse’s Tank we ran into a small group of Desert big horn sheep. Unfortunately none of them were old enough to have full curling horns. I have only seen one in the past, very close to the picnic area at Mouse’s Tank. Our next stop was Rainbow Vista where I unsuccessfully tried to get a picture with all the wonderful colors of the area. Our next stop – the Fire Wave Hike – so happy it wasn’t a 100 degrees out. It was pretty late by the time we finished so we quickly went to the end of the road for a parking lot look at the White Dome area. On the way to the East exit we took time for a quick detour down Fire Canyon Road to see the geology in that area. It was sunset when we exited the park by the Lake Mead National Recreation boundary and headed back to Las Vegas. There is so much more to see in Valley of Fire State Park I hope we’ll be able to get back again in the future.