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Friday, January 25, 2013

El Diablo

We had been to Valley of Fire at least three previous times since '99, which was the first year of our—on-again off-again, can't-make-up-our-minds, come-and-go-from-sticks and bricks, semi-persuaded, back-to-work-cause-we've-run-out-of-money-again—RV lifestyle. But this time felt different. It must have been me, because I'm pretty sure the rocks haven't moved or changed all that much in 14 years.

A stubborn run of below zero temps, snow and clouds had me by the balls back in Lovely Ouray; they were as blue as my mood, or vice versa. Suffice it to say, all three of us needed a change of scene. Reader Teri suggested that my disposition might have something to do with it being "Blue Monday." Well I'll be damned... they have an official day? It wasn't just in my head after all? In the good old "treadmill" days there were fifty two Blue Mondays... back to back to back. Even the Monday I was on vacation was Blue, because I was dreading the next one at work. 

But there's nothing that un-wads my panties better than winter warmth, sun, and stumbling around in pretty rocks that come in no less than five shades of red—orange, umber, yellow, green, lavender... and my new favorite, mustard... Grey Poupon, of course. 

Eons ago, volcanic activity littered Valley of Fire with cool Rock Art. Thank to "tips" from Wise Ones, Susan and Maikel, we found and explored a few new "unmarked" areas. I remembered hiking washes on previous trips, but nothing comparable to "number five." My oh my.

I have always had a fascination with rocks. As a young Arizona Geo-cowboy, I'd gather the prettiest ones and shove them in the pant's pockets of my "Chubby" sized Yellow Front blue jeans. Bigger rocks got loaded in the trunk of our Oldsmobile, much to parental dismay. Some rocks had veins of gold; I could see it, all sparkly. Dad called it "Iron Pyrite Gold." I guess he didn't have the heart to crush his little Geo-cowboy's dreams of wealth.

Collecting rocks kept my Pentecostal Mom on the "line" with her Lord and Savior, Jesus... praying that I be protected from rattlesnakes, scorpions, and other venomous critters that like to hide underneath. She'd often rebuke Satan for putting doubt in her mind that she was getting through to Jesus. In fact, it seemed like Mom had running day and night conversations with Jesus and Satan, as if they were in the room. She'd praise one and curse the other. I grew up thinking it perfectly normal for mom's to intercede with the "powers of Good and evil" on behalf of their offspring... even though it never seemed to work for me. Once, I messed up big time and called Mom "selfish" for not allowing any more rocks to be brought home. She grasp my Chubby head in her powerful hands and proceeded to cast a out a devil! It kinda scared me straight for a while. But it doesn't take long for old Satan to reoccupy the fertile ground of a mischievous mind :). 

Now let's wander through some fire and brimstone, shall we? 

My Favorite "Swirl..."

This one reminds me of Fruit Cake

Yes, the camera was held level, it's just that these spires are at odds with the Universe.

Do you see the Lizard?

You know you've gone beyond "window shoppers" when your's are the only tracks...

I will have better photos... a series, actually, of these "seams" in the next post. They were everywhere and at all angles... too closely spaced  together to represent "sedimentary" layers (in my humble "right-brained" opinion).

The smoothness with which wind and waterborne sand wears the wash walls in some places makes me want to Hug a Rock! Just lay down on it and soak up the energy it has accumulated over millions and millions of years...


  1. Love the colors and the lizard, too!

  2. Haven't been to Vally of Fire for years, love the colours in those rocks in the late afternoon. Hope to return one of these days. Gorgeous photographs

  3. Thanks for the great hike and beautiful photos. Also wondering if this is Nevada's Valley of Fire?

  4. I hope you did lay down on some of those lithified dunes and soak up the heat and energy.

    The veins look quartz-like. The various mineral colors surreal. And those conglomerates look out of place.

    Hope you put one of those big rocks in your pocket. Oh yea, not from a park. ;)

  5. Have a confession to make. Due to time constraints (damn job!) I haven't been reading blogs lately but I do love looking at your photos. As much as I liked the snow pics, I'll take colorful rocks any day!


  6. Great pictures of the area, need to put that on my list of things places to see.

  7. Beautiful as always! Are the rocks naturally shiny as shown in your hand or did you wet them somehow to enhance?

    I did see the lizard ~ and I also saw a shark in another shot! Did you? lol

  8. Laverne here:

    I think it was high time for you to get out of Dodge! Those "moody blues" hits us all at one time or another....my oh my, indeed!...

    My hat's off to your Mom, a job well done!

    The swirl reminds me of choc and van ice cream whipped together, would taste good today in our 80 degree weather here in Austin...would rather be somewhere cooler, picking up pretty rocks.

    Looking forward to your next post, "with better pictures"? You seem to go the extra mile for those of us who can't...Thanks

  9. The "lizard" is smokin'. Great catch.

    I also enjoy six other photos as much as your "swirl" photo.

    Looks like a place we'd enjoy exploring...if it's not too hot.

    I've been to Valley of Fire once with my mother- and sister-in-law. They don't walk very far. Bummer. We did make it to Mouse Tanks and the petroglyphs, though.

  10. Have YET to visit the Valley of Fire. It's gotta come onto the list soon. Lovin' the red rocks!


  11. Wise One here. YEp. Nada soul out there except for us and the froggies when we hiked around and up and down and over yander cause there was always something intriguing just poking over. We happened upon the washes after a rain when everything is in chocolate curls. Talks about a glorious crunch. Yowza. Yep. -susan

  12. Thanks for the blog mention and the laugh, love reading your blogs, I like your take on Blue Monday. Most moms are not selfish, bad thing to say to her, lol. And the pictures are beautiful.

  13. I would be one of the window shoppers so I'm sure glad you are around to take me further. Sure do love these pictures.

  14. Nothing is as it "seams"! Great post! -scamp

  15. O F M,
    Yes... Nevada... from the question I take that there are others? Where!

    Pam and Wayne,
    That was a big lizard :)

    Cheshire Cat,
    Early morning or late afternoon... that is when the color explodes, alright... unless it's cloudy.

    My pleasure... believe me :) Nevada's V of F is worth returning to... and again, Other V of F's?

    The incongruent variety and color of rock is part of the attraction, for sure. The seams didn't look like the quartz I'm use to seeing, it was hard tho... just not whitish... thanks. I'll keep working on the answer. I did snuggle up the some "waves" :) They recharged my batteries.

    Oh no! Jobs have a way of doing that. I bet your "hitch" (wheels) are getting itchy. Hang in there, and travel vicariously with the BCB until you get rolling again... then I will travel with you :))

    Geo and Suz,
    You won't regret it!! thanks.

    Meow Momma,
    I did not wet the rocks... but is is as if they were wet, almost like they had a clear lacquer coat applied to them. I must have missed the shark! I'll go look again. Good Eye!

    Moody Blues... another great group. Remember Tuesday Afternoon? I digress
    Mom was one of a kind... they broke the mold...
    I have used the ice cream analogy to death... so I went with Crayons this time. But you are right :)
    Swirled Soft Serve...

    Travel Bug,
    Thanks :)
    You will need lots of film in V of F :)
    We did not get to the tanks this time as we had been there done that and the parking lot was FULL. It's hard to pee in a slot canyon with that many people! Still a cool hike tho

    You will love the campground too... a choice between hook ups and dry camping... all set among red rocks. Here's a tip tho, if you are there when it's cooler... avoid the spaces where red rock blocks winter sun. Thanks for commenting...

    Wiseone Suz,
    We were in your footsteps, I'm sure :)) and do appreciate your tips!!!!!!! I almost wore out my camera. It's funny how food analogies are popular when trying to describe geology of V of F... :) thanks... see ya soon I hope.

    You are welcome... thanks for explaining my mood away :) Like I'm not responsible for it :)) Thanks for being a "regular" here... I appreciate your comments and thoughts.

    Jim of Jim and Gayle,
    It is our motto... "Go Further!" Looking forward to seeing you on the road again soon, Thanks!!!

    Indeed... "it" might even be a hologram...
    thanks, enjoy the V of the S. ::) Still heading south... so much to see and explore and so little time.

  16. The pictures from Valley of Fire are amazing! Two other people have recommended this location to us since we love hiking and finding roads for our Jeep. Other blog friends have recommended your site, what a perfect time to look you up. We have decided to change our plans and bag heading to Phoenix and instead head to Vega and the Valley of Fire! Would you mind sharing the trails off the beaten path that the Wise Ones shared with you?! I love collecting rocks so this should be right up my alley!

  17. Welcome, John and Pam,
    I hope you find the "muse" here tolerable... :))

    On Valley of Fire:

    It is AMAZING... but it needs sunlight to be at its colorful peak. So check the forecast as it's pretty dark with rain clouds up north for a while.

    They don't allow off paved road jeeping in the park proper. But the campground is great... full hookups if you want them for 10 bucks extra per night.

    Also, I don't think they allow rock collecting... but check with the ranger as I'm not sure about that... if not, Maybe photos will do?

    And, I try not to blab "special places" on the internet. If everyone does that there will be nothing left untracked and quiet. So drop me an email and I'll pass along some info... after I frisk and swear you to secrecy :)) Hit me up at: mej4@mac.com

    1. Thanks so much! I'll be emailing for info. We don't head there until the second half of Feb.

      My rock collecting involves small dime pieces. Only need one!


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