Monday in the Valley of Fire
I spent several hours on a father/son outing to the Valley of Fire, a state park maye 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas. I'm freakin' exhausted now, because not only did I work out this morning for the first time in four or five years, but because once I got to the Valley of Fire, I decided it would be a good idea to climb a mountin while carrying an almost-three-year-old boy.
I've got some great pics, but they'll have to wait for tomorrow. I'm wiped out.
Did I mention that I carried a toddler up a mountain? Because my arms are still extremely sore. Maybe if I weren't such a wuss I wouldn't have this problem, but well, you know, that's water under the bridge.
Nevada skies have this tendency to turn iron grey with clouds, making this the Silver State in more than one sense. It was absolutely beautiful from on top of that mountain, so it was worth the effort. One thing you can't see in the picture is the howling wind, which about knocked kidd-o off his feet, and in fact almost knocked me off my feet.
That first picture is actually not in the Valley of Fire, and neither is this one. You drive around a little bend in the road, and all of a sudden you're looking down into this incredible valley. Right at the bottom of it, there's a ranger station, and on the other side of that you can see the red rocks that give the park its name. This picture doesn't even come close to hinting at how breathtaking that view is.
The scenery was so colorful that my camera wasn't able to capture all of it. I had to sacrifice, in this picture and others, some of the red in those rocks in order to bring out the blue/grey in the sky.
The rocks are filled with holes and gaps in the most unusual formations. Kidd-o thought they looked like monster faces, so for the first part of the drive, he said there were monsters in the rocks. For the second part, he decided that they weren't rocks at all, but monsters that were coming to get him, but he knew Daddy would keep him safe from the monsters. "Yes," I said, "there are monsters in the rocks." "No! Not rocks! Monsters." What can I say? The kid's pretty persuasive.
Climbing on said rocks. I keep telling the wife that kidd-o is a little monkey, and she denies it. I don't know how, in the face of all this photographic evidence. He's got a real aptitude for climbing.
We had a lot to see and not a lot of time to see it. But for reasons that should be obvious, it got increasingly difficult to coax kidd-o back into the car to drive to the next point of interest.
Another picture that really suffers when shrunk down into a 300 x 400 pixel image. I was so stunned by this scene that I actually threw the car into reverse and drove backwards 50 yards to make sure I got the best angle. I think I got the angle right, but the colors are off. The sky was that same iron and blue, the rocks were red monsters rising from a sea of green, with light brown mountains in the extreme distance. Absolutely stunning stuff.
I had to cut the trip short right around this point, but as it happened, it started to rain on us minutes after we got back in the car for the last time. And kidd-o, who missed his afternoon nap, quickly zonked out in the back seat for the trip back home.