Compared to Utah’s Wave the Fire Wave at Valley of Fire is puny. But it doesn’t require a permit and the easy 1.5 miles round trip across sand and slick rock does offer some interesting rock and marvelous views. Plus it’s dog friendly on leash so we met several dogs and their people.
Much like White Domes we experienced a crowded parking area at the trailhead. Then once across the road paused to allow a huge group of tripod toting photographers to pass and almost run to the “feature” not noticing the beauty along the way. Too often people get focused on a destination and miss the journey. Their loss I guess.
I excitedly looked at the green shale, not the most prevalent rock in the park. Then we came across composite rock which seemed really out of place among all the sediments. Water rounded rocks cemented together in dark masses of reds, greens and charcoal colors laid down on top of the sandstone by some ancient river later broken down to lay along the trail.
Sparsely scattered trail markers try to guide hikers but people just went every which way. Footprints in sand were obvious but I happily didn’t notice smashed walked on plants. The stripes of colors and eroded shapes called to go off trail and get closer.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed in the actual Fire Wave, but the entire landscape is amazing and once again I felt the pull to just wander off into it and not get lost. OK, it was pretty but rather small compared to Utah’s Wave. I just think it’s over hyped. But then it does keep a lot of people out of the non-trailed protected land. Maybe I should send visitors to the Valley of Fire version. It’s close to Vegas where many of them fly into.
Don’t get me wrong, Valley of Fire is fantastic. I love all the colors and patterns. For some reason I am reminded of my grandmother’s wooden furniture showing years of wear on decades of layered paint. With more time we could have continued exploring this amazing landscape, no trail needed. A very good excuse to return but not on a three day holiday weekend.
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