Saturday, January 22, 2011
Valley of Fire Slot Canyons - 1/22/11
Wow! Today's hike was the most beautiful and photogenic three mile hike that we have done in, at least, a month or two! Valley of Fire was seen today by forty- two hikers in all its glory of color and sculpture. There were several points at which our breath was taken away as we gazed in awe at the creation of sand, seas, and wind.
Led by Brian, our club's Valley of Fire expert, we began today's hike at the second parking lot after the Rainbow Vista parking lot on the road that goes into the park from the Visitor's Center. Heading into the sandstone to the east of the road, we were immediately engulfed by the colorful surroundings.
The yellows, pinks, oranges, reds and whites were all about as we watched a large hawk or falcon fly from a high cliff above. The sandstone gaped with holes. Colorful swirls swam under our feet. Several photographers from our large group flitted about here there and everywhere while looking for the best angle to capture the obvious targets.
The rest of the group descended casually down to a small canyon which would provide entertain- ment for the morning. Here, there would be several sections of slots that we would hike through. After a small break, we began threading through the slots. The color continued, now augmented by interesting sandstone formations carved out by rainwater.
The canyon snaked for over a mile. There are a few sections where one can reach from one side of the canyon to the other. Around half way through, we crossed the road and headed back into the canyon on the other side. Photographers were busy scrambling up the sides of the canyon to capture photos of the hikers.
Eventually, we came to a junction with the White Domes Trail where an old movie set still sits on the rock. We took a minute for those hikers who had not seen the movie set to take pictures and return to the canyon. From here, we continued up the canyon and entered a much larger slot canyon which is part of the White Domes Trail.
After emerging from the large slot canyon, instead of continuing to the right on the White Domes Trail, we climbed up to the left. We left the canyon and headed into a desert wash among the colorful hills. Red rock hills were off to our right but we stayed in the white colors wondering why the colors seemed to be grouped here and there.
At the high point of our hike, we stopped and took our snack break. We peppered the surrounding rocks and talked about champagne, clothes and recent trips while the photogs ran around finding more pics. The sun had come out which provided a lot more photographic opportunities.
With only a mile left to go, we continued up the wash until we found the correct left turn that would return us to our cars. As we came around a bend on this wash, we were stunned to meet the view seen in the first photo. It was gorgeous! We would like to thank Brian for his excellent choice of a hike today at the Valley of Fire. Also, we would like to say that we always enjoy Brian's leadership when coordinating a hike.
One more right turn took us up hill then down and around a corner where we could see our cars about a quarter of a mile away. This blogger hopes that you enjoyed the photos. She couldn't bear to leave many out of the entry. Thanks Brian.