January 30, 2007

Since stumbling across the Valley of Fire (VOF) on our last trip to Arizona, we have always wanted to return for a more thorough look. Winter is not one of the most popular camping seasons, but the desert areas are at least dry, so we laid our plans. Barstow was about as far as we thought we could get in one day. It also happens to have a small park listed on the map called Rainbow Basin. After a day of scenic freeway driving, we arrived at 5pm (my favorite hour) to our choice of 80 campsites. Mimi discovered a nice unlisted trail and the next morning we were off. This was an amazing canyon and we only wish we had more time to explore.  We arrived at the VOF about 3pm, having survived the riskiest part of our trip...Las Vegas traffic.
The highlight of the next day was Silica Dome at the end of a mile long dirt trail. It was an amazing geologic maze of sand sculpted boulders and stone canyons. After an hour we reluctantly headed back to our car for Arrow Canyon about 20 miles north of us. Unfortunately not all destinations turn out good, and this one proved to be too inaccessible. 

Our third destination was Whitney Pockets. But that also proved to be too far, too remote and we developed a serious camper problem... no toilet water. After visiting a small museum in Overton, we headed back to the VOF where I discovered it was only a switch failure and was able to do a work around.

On Thursday we headed to Springs Mountain north of Las Vegas and got in one icy, but nice hike before heading to Red Rock Canyon. To our surprise, it's amazing cliff formations proved equaled to those of Utah. Fortunately a campsite was nearby, but in spite of staying until closing, we only had time to rush through. The following morning we droned back home via 99.