When I got the email that told me I had been Freshly Pressed, they specifically told me that they had always thought of Nevada as a wasteland, but that I had changed their mind. I don’t even think I came close.
The desert is a magical place. Pictures really can’t even do it justice – the vastness of it, the silence of it – it makes me feel so free and so very small. It lightens my insides and opens me up. It gives me an inner peace. Knowing this about myself, you would think that I would have been all about going to the Valley of Fire State Park one of the million times that my husband mentioned we should hike there. I think it was the word “hike” that got me. I don’t like climbing things. Walking through nature, though? I can handle that.
So, on the weekend of his 4oth birthday (just a few weeks ago) I gave in and said we should go. That week turned out to be hot as hell for March in Vegas…highs of almost 90 degrees. It was close to that as well on the Saturday of our little planned trip and even though we were expecting it to be much hotter than that at our destination, we set out anyway. We left in the afternoon, because I knew that I wanted to be there at sunset. Little did I know that we would need much more time than we alloted…mainly because I wanted to take a picture of every damn thing I saw.
You guys…it amazed me. It was beautiful. It was the first time I had been there and I can’t wait to go back. We had the baby in her stroller, so we didn’t go on any trails. We stuck to the roads and got out at parking areas to look around at the sites. Turns out baby is allergic to one of the desert plants that was blooming and she was just miserable with red, watery eyes and a runny nose, anyway. Our next trip will probably have to be without her.
We saw 4,000 year old petroglyphs, Mini Me discovered a love of climbing that totally floored Mike and I, Little Man learned to drive a car, and Mike had me take some pictures of him in a special spot that he had previously been to – part of his list of 40 things to do while he’s 40. I went with the goal of getting two different types of photos – one that depicted “Small subject, Big world” for a creativity exercise that I was taking part in and a silhouette photo. We had a glorious afternoon and didn’t leave until after dark…tired and dirty from what was probably our best family outing to date.
If you are ever in the Las Vegas area, I highly recommend renting a vehicle, driving the hour to Valley of Fire, and spending at least one day completely sober in the desert. We were pleasantly surprised that it was actually a few degrees cooler than the Las Vegas valley. Turns out, the place gets its name from the color of the rocks, not the temperature. Go figure.
- Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood (southernfriedinvegas.com)