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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Bowl of Fire for Breakfast

 Well, well, well… photos without snow! Trust me, I'm as pleased as you are.

Our return to roads less traveled was uneventful, which, in RV speak, is another way of saying "we made it." Not discounting wind, cold, and snow at our Snow Canyon camp, of course, though it's named after a person and not weather. 

So, one week into this year's winter jaunt finds us dry-camped at Katherine's Landing, Arizona, on the shores of Mohave Lake. The Lake Mead Recreational Area camping fee doubled over the past years, FYI, from 5 to 10 dollars; still a good deal but how about a more gradual in-line-with-inflation increase, Govie? 

Life's Little Adventurers, Jim and Gayle, told us about hiking Bowl of Fire at our last camp along Lake Mead. If it's anything like Valley of Fire I'm all in.

Yep, there it is… a smoldering Bowl of Fire

Bowl of Fire was only about a ten minute drive from our (then) boondock camp at Government Wash. We got an early start due to the NFL playoffs being in progress. I'm hoping (praying, actually, tho it does no good) that the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos win out and meet up in this year's Super Bowl. I really wouldn't care who wins in that scenario, so for once I could just sit back and enjoy the game. But we all know it will be the Patriots versus the Panthers, in which case I won't waste my time on it.   

Most everyone has fond memories of places where they grew up, be it in the east or west. But I think it has more to do with "when" as it does "where." The "when" is Childhood, a magical time of exploration, a time when our world (neighborhood) is as small and foreign as Outer Mongolia. As children we set sail from the safety of our backyards like modern-day "Magellans," turning over back alley trashcans and secrets from the next street over. 

My memories of growing up in southern Arizona are really no different, with the exception that we lived mostly in trailer parks instead of houses in neighborhoods, and that most western towns have surrendered their Rockwellian charm to strip malled purveyors of fast food. To venture out of one's trailer park in Phoenix was akin to setting sail for the "new world" on a flat earth. I was the explorer extraordinaire to a trailer-trash gang of miscreants, frequently leading them beyond the reach of calls from worried mothers and angry fathers.  

Sixty years later, in spite of the fact that the world's "trash cans" have been turned over, their secrets spilled, I still feel the need to explore, and to be alone. It is the main reason I migrated west from Les Miserable, Missouri, to the only place I knew where one could be totally alone without trespassing. Arizona feels like an old familiar neighborhood. I love its rugged bleak landscapes. Here, on the shores of Lake Mohave, as well as the greater part of the Colorado River corridor, the scene is other-worldly… a Martian landscape devoid of explorers for the most part. 

I stare out Goldie's windows at austere layers of earth-toned mountains unfolding into a horizon set ablaze by the setting sun. There is an ambient smoldering glow the the land, reminiscent of lava whose molten ooze thickened to a halt. 

Mountains in this arid place are rugged and Male… nothing to soften their appearance beyond the occasional dune of sand and wisp of grass. They are as serrated and sharp as can be, a place where the slightest misstep leaves one cut and bleeding like a piece of raw meat. 

Oh yeah… except for my partner in exploration, we are completely alone in the Bowl of Fire.    

While hiking into the "bowl" of mountains that surround the "fire," I got the distinct impression that if scratched they would bleed as red as the blood running down my leg. Red rock seems to underlay the surface, awaiting some monumental event or father time to unveil their color to the world. Who knows, another million years, give or take, and this might be another "Valley of Fire," instead of just a "Bowl."


  1. Oh yeah, this, both your photos and your words, takes me out of my decidedly dismal funk. I want to visit this place someday...and if it I can do it alone (which includes my trail partner) that suits me just fine. Thanks for the preview.

  2. Must find this Bowl of Fire...maybe even on this trip?!

  3. Ahhhh.. Red Rocks again and no more snow. What a blessing.

  4. The snow is beautiful...but there is nothing quite like those wonderful red rocks!

  5. More vicarious hiking experience for the guy in the boot!! Great photos as always. Thanks for posting. Should be out of the boot next Wednesday, one more step in the recovery process!

  6. This is a really neat place. We did this hike twice, once alone and another to take friends out. Both times we were all alone. I love that there isn't a set trail in "Bowl" and we could create our own adventure.

    I don't know if you are still there or not, but you need to hike to the Arizona Hot Springs. Great loop hike down to the river and then through the springs.
    Here is our blog post on it:

  7. Love the red rocks, was wonderful to finally meet you and Bobbie, enjoy the warm weather.

  8. Amazing country and great photos as usual.


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