Monday, May 30, 2016

Valley of Fire...Snippets

Just a few more snippets from Valley of Fire State Park. These are places that are just a short walk from the main road. The first one is Elephant Rock, located near the East Entrance Station.
Thistle enjoyed looking for Antelope Squirrels that scampered during our morning walks.
This short trail leads to some petrified logs from long ago forests.
Trees washed down in some ancient flood were buried in silt and mineralized over time. There are at least two sites along the main highway through the park that have petrified logs on display.
These cabins were built in the 1930s by the CCC as a shelter for passing travelers. They are constructed of native sandstone.
Each is equipped with a dirt floor, a window, and a rock fireplace.
A brick monument was erected in 1949 by local citizens, a memorial to Sergeant John J. Clark, whose body was found in this spot with his buckboard and horse, which also died.
The Clark Memorial along the old Arrowhead Wagon Trail.
He died here in June 1915 at the age of 67.
Another pretty sunrise.
That morning I hiked a portion of the old wagon trail where the old man died of thirst.
I thought of him as the sun rose higher, and temperatures climbed.
I only hiked 3 miles and then went back to my air-conditioned RV. Travel was sure a lot tougher in those early days.
There were wedding pictures being taken at Seven Sisters picnic area.
That's a black-tailed Jack Rabbit that Thistle wanted to chase on another morning walk near the campground.
This is near Arch Rock on the scenic loop past the two campgrounds.
Arch Rock Campground has nice primitive sites, but no electric hookups. You can see another arch high above that RV.
A little cottontail bunny trying to hide in one of the holes. Thistle didn't see this one.
There's a Guided Hike Company that brings hikers from Las Vegas to hike here. I liked this picture on their van.
Tomorrow I move on a little farther north and to some higher elevations that hopefully won't be so hot.

Valley of Fire, Petroglyph Canyon, Mouse's Tank, Rainbow Vista

Fiery sunrise on Friday morning at Valley of Fire. This was about 5:15 a.m.
By 5:45 a.m. I was at the trailhead of Petroglyph Canyon Trail which ends at a landmark called Mouse's Tank. 
Jimson Weed blooming near the trailhead. It has some medicinal uses, but is also hallucinogenic and can be fatally toxic.
The trail down Petroglyph Canyon is pretty easy, except walking in soft sand can be strenuous.
The walls of this canyon are covered with ancient petroglyphs.
There are also wild flowers blooming along the way.

This little wren was my only companion on the trail.
Almost every available "chalkboard" was covered with petroglyphs.
Hunting must have been good here...I see a lot of bighorn sheep symbols.
The trail.

More petroglyphs as we approach Mouse's Tank.

"Mouse's Tank" is a natural rainwater-collection pool, which got its name from a renegade Paiute called "Little Mouse," who hid in these canyons and was known to obtain water at this and other pools.
Local folklore says that Little Mouse was hunted down by a posse and shot to death when he refused to surrender for his alleged crimes in the 1890s.
The water source may be what attracted the sheep as well as their hunters.
As I return back to the parking lot, the sun begins to reach farther into the canyon. 
It has been a nice cool shady hike early in the morning.
Evidence of creatures in the night.
Next I hiked the Rainbow Vista Trail. The sun has risen enough to brighten the colors we will see. I am still the only hiker here.
The start of this trail is so scenic that wedding parties come here for photos of their grand occasion.
Rainbow Vista
More tracks in the sand...
Trail marker....the trail continues another mile to Fire Canyon Overlook.
This was a can clearly see his foot tracks and tail dragging.
Rainbow Vista

The purple waves were different.
Not sure this was part of the official trail, but I followed other people's tracks to the top of this rock for a grand view of the area.
The view!
Back down, you have a choice to go back to the parking lot or continue to the Fire Canyon Overlook. We're going on.
The trail is still in the shade.
Someone thought this was a special place and built this little cairn.
There's about a 5-foot drop here which gave me pause, but there is a way around without having to jump.
Scenes from the trail.

The trail abruptly ends at a cliff drop-off overlooking Fire Canyon.
Fire Canyon
Scenes from the return trip: An arch.
Once again, a wren is my only hiking pal.
Desert flora.

Jack Rabbit tracks.
Back to Rainbow Vista
It was still early so I drove out the east entrance to the town of Overton for gas and groceries. This is the view re-entering the park from the east side.