Sunday, April 17, 2011
The Valley of Fire Wave
The Fire Wave At Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, Nevada
The Valley of Fire State Park is about an hour away from Las Vegas and is Nevada's first State Park. I must admit that the first time I saw Valley of Fire, I was not very impressed. I guess, we were tired then from several days of exploring Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, all of Utah. When we were in Zion, I saw a picture of a cave which was glowing like a charcoal, I wanted to see it, and I was overjoyed when I learned that it is in Nevada, which is really on our way back to San Diego. However, when we reached Valley of Fire, all those red rocks looked like some alien's dump-land to me. Plus, it was summer, when the temperature at the Valley of Fire was in the hundreds! We could hardly even get out of the car because the heat was so intense. Thus, we ended up viewing the park from our car, which at any rate did not give us a beautiful impression. Then, for several times we went to explore some parks in the Grand Circle, we always skip this park, thinking that it is but an alien's dump-land. But this impression did not last....
Wavelike Patterns @ The Fire Wave
A couple weeks ago, I was still not very sure whether I should spend my spring break outside of San Diego due to many assignments I had to finish. However, I felt like I badly needed a break. Thus I decided to spend some days away from San Diego, at Big Sur, one of my favorite hiking and nature escapes in California. Now, what an extreme it is you may think that from Big Sur, we ended up in Las Vegas. Big Sur is where the mountains are kissed by the clouds and the pounding waves of the sea, the redwood forest is lovely and the waterfalls next to the ocean is really a unique sight. Big Sur is a heaven of peacefulness and serenity and where the night lights would be the sparkling stars from the sky, whereas Las Vegas is totally a different world. Las Vegas at night is far from quiet, the sparkling stars are diluted by the city night lights. There may be mountains around Las Vegas, but no redwood forest and pounding waves from the sea. But then, Highway 1 at Big Sur was closed last week due to several landslides. Instead of sulking because we could not access Big Sur from the South, I then looked in another direction. From the ocean, I looked into the desert, with high hopes of seeing a desert bighorn sheep and desert tortoise since it is at spring that one will most likely see them. Well, we were not lucky to see the endangered desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep :(, instead, we saw beautiful desert lizards and lots of squirrels and rabbits :)
But then, despite not seeing desert tortoise nor desert bighorn sheep in our exploration, we were still awed by the amazing geological features we saw in the desert.
Riding the Wavelines ( I just named this place, this is actually the trail or no trail we took to get to the Valley of Fire Wave)
Before I came to US, I had very little idea what a desert is like, all the images that were in my mind were that of the desert as the last place I wanted to be probably on Earth. A wasteland and a heat reservoir were the two popular descriptions I would always hear. However, coming to US exposed me to the different sceneries in a desert, and I learned that the desert is happily no wasteland, in fact, it is teeming with life, maybe, not just the kind of life most of us see and experience.
Beavertail Cactus Blooms, from the trail we took to Fire Wave, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
From afar, the desert may look barren, may look brown, but deep within, when you take a closer look at it, the desert is full of surprises and beauty.
Evening Primrose as seen from the trail, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
What I have learned about the desert is that it is not a place of what is obvious, but a place of what is hidden. One must really get to their feet and keep going to capture a stunning memory. Just like the Valley of Fire Wave, this geological formation in Valley of Fire can not be seen from the park main roads.
Can You Spot Me? This is one of the most colorful geological formations I have seen.
Valley of Fire Wave, Overton, Nevada
But that's where the joy is, when we move our feet and discover the simple pleasures of life.
Tourists Celebrating the Joy of Finding This Place After A Hike