Nevada, 2016

Valley of Fire, State Park

For the majority of people Nevada will always be synonymous to Las Vegas and while there is no disputing that Las Vegas has its charms (at a minimum it has that same effect on me as a tragic car crash or a T.V. show like the Office has; although uncomfortable, I just can’t look away), Nevada also is home to some majestic pieces of often overlooked scenery.

The fact that the surroundings of Las Vegas are often overlooked is however a blessing in disguise, compared to the far more famous national parks that reside in the surrounding states (e.g. Zion NP, Bryce NP and Grand Canyon NP) the parks in Nevada can sometime feel desolate. Instead of the constant buzz and annoyance that inevitably comes at any place where a lot of tourists flock together, in some of the Nevada parks you can still enjoy a lot of the scenery in complete isolation. Something I experienced during my latest trip to Las Vegas.

During this trip where I was meeting two friends from the Netherlands, and after a long night of indulging in all of the cities vices, we decided to take a brake from the city for a day and head out to Zion NP. As always we were ill-prepared and just started driving to the park without any idea of what kind of park it was or what we could actually do whilst there. Needless to say when we finally arrived, paid the entrance fee and only then figured out that you are not allowed to drive through the park with your own car but were supposed to leverage a tourist shuttle to navigate the park, we were quite disappointed. So disappointed that we did what any sane person would do after a three hour drive to one of the most beautiful places on earth; we turned around and drove right back….

To not make this trip a complete waste we looked to see if there was anything else on the route that might be worth visiting and that is when we stumbled on the Valley of Fire. Arriving there just before sunset we entered a completely deserted park. The contrast with Zion could not have been bigger. Why no-one was at this park will remain a mystery because the landscape was truly breathtaking and the rock formations mesmerising. Nothing is fenced off and you can do as you please here, so while my friends were climbing the large rock formations and tried to capture some of that beauty on camera.

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