Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Utah Trip - Day 1: Valley of Fire

The outbound trip began today at 5:30 EDT with a wake-up call. A quick shower, a drive to the airport, and we were in the air. We arrived at Las Vegas McCarran Airport on schedule at around 9 am local time, picked up the rental car (a Ford Escape 4WD), and then drove about 40 miles northeast, to one of the most interesting, most ancient sites I have ever photographed.

The Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada contains artifacts from civilizations dating back to 2,000 AD. In fact, visitors who are very lucky may find sites there with petroglyphs, pictograms, and even footprints from civilations as much as 1,000 years apart - all in the same space. Let me explain one site (not the site pictured). I have one photo in which you will see an ancient footprint from around 2,000 AD along with carved petroglyphs from around 900 AD. I have to ask myself, what would bring people to an area, over such a long period of time.

We are told the answer is that hunting was (at one time) good in the area where Valley of Fire is located. As you can see in photo above, there is also ample shelter from weather in the many rock formations, overhangs, and cave-like structures in the sandstone. I wish web publishing did not wash out the colors in photos so badly - the posted photo simply does not do justice to the site. Valley of Fire is composed of fiery red sandstone cliffs and outcroppings in an otherwise bland landscape of gray sandstone. Driving in the from the highway, you will come up over a rise, and all at once - wow!

Tomorrow, Escalante, Utah, where I am writing this summary from today. Escalante is the region of southern Utah where you will find Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase National Monument, and many natural slot canyons. Time permitting, I will try to post a photo-a-day from the trip.

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