Photos: Into the Valley of Fire, Nevada

Brendan crosses the endless waves of sandstone.

Brendan crosses the endless waves of sandstone.

During our brief trip to Las Vegas, we decided to go hiking at the nearby Valley of Fire State Park. The place is gorgeous, in the way that the moon is gorgeous: eerie, sparse, oozing and hostile. I loved it, but even in late October, the heat was a bit like walking into an oven with the broil setting on.

The thing I like best about the Western U.S. is the geology. Millions of years ago, were these fantastic shapes created in only a few days’ time? The globular simplicity of the land against the sky is also disorienting: Some of these photos below are of giant rock structures, but without a human or other recognizable object, it’s hard to assess the scale of them. What looks like a mile may be only a few feet, and vice versa.

Layers of shades of orange.

Layers of shades of orange.

It is easy to anthropomorphize the rock. Do you see the skull?

It is easy to anthropomorphize the rock. Do you see a side view of a skull in here? I do.

It's similar to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but with far less vegetation.

It's similar to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but with far less vegetation and a lot more grilling heat.

Strange vertical lines crisscross with the more typical horizontal lines in the sandstone.

Strange dual-vertical lines crisscross with the more typical horizontal lines in the sandstone.

While hot, standing out in the desert is cooler than standing out in a parking lot in Las Vegas, where the asphalt radiates heat.

While hot, standing out in the desert is cooler than standing out in a parking lot in Las Vegas, where the asphalt radiates heat. Note the small state park road in the middle of this photo.

5 thoughts on “Photos: Into the Valley of Fire, Nevada

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