Wednesday, November 20, 2013 (Atlatl Rock Campground, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada)

We had discussed staying here until Friday but after checking the forecast, we thought we should leave tomorrow (Thursday). Looks there is quite a storm coming into the whole southwest, so we thought we would try to outrun it and get to Blythe, California tomorrow...or at least get part-way.

So today we are going out to see the last few remaining landmarks that we haven't seen yet and also stop at the visitors center.

Our first stop was at The Beehives...Once part of a sand deposit that covered a vast area, these rocks have been subjected to a relentless attack by harsh winds, rain, heat and cold, creating the many unusual formations that make up the Valley of Fire.

The beehives not only demonstrate the unique design that can be created by Nature, but is an excellent representation of geologic cross bedding. Those are the grooved lines going in different directions. The layers or beds represent different layers of silt that are deposited at different times. The beds indicate the angle the wind or water was moving at the time the material was deposited. Cross bedding is very common in sand dunes, beach deposits and river sediments.

Our next stop was at the Petrified Logs...

Petrified forests are rather common in the West, and are often made up of a wide variety of trees. The trees of this "forest" however are ancient pines that grew near here during the great Age of Reptiles, approximately 150 million years ago.

Millions of years ago, this tree likely grew with others of its kind in a forest several miles from here. Later, flood waters carried the fallen log to this area where it was buried beneath thousands of feet of silt, sand and sea deposits. Here it slowly changed to stone.
The forest where this tree once grew was likely made up of primitive evergreens call Araucarian Pines. Several species of Araucaria are still found growing in South America, Australia and other land areas south of the equator. Of these, the "Monkey Puzzle Tree" is the best known.

"Seven Sisters". roadside picnic area, was our next stop.  It is really hard to get a picture that captures all of them...or at least where you can see the individual formations.

Once a part of the nearby red formations,these rock towers are all that remain after the relentless forces of erosion stripped away the surrounding sandstone deposits. Numerous "blow holes" forecast the eventual destruction of the towers that will take place many hundreds of years in the future.
Steve walked out into the desert on the other side to take these pictures...

Our final stop was back at the visitors center. We wandered around the exhibits, taking time to read all about the history, climate, plants and animals of the Valley of Fire.

This little fellow (a Chuckwalla) was very curious, watching as we moved...

Back home, we spent part of the afternoon doing a little maintenance on the fifth-wheel. Steve wanted to figure out a way of re-attaching the part on the slide topper that snapped that the topper wouldn't unravel as we are driving down the highway tomorrow.  He put it back in place by drilling another hole into the assembly...hopefully that keeps everything in place until we get a replacement!

Before the sun disappeared behind the mountains, we went for a walk around the campground. Unfortunately, we didn't take the camera with us!  There are a few walk-in tent sites that are really cool...hidden back among the rock formations. The RV sites are huge with plenty of room for big rigs wanting power and water hook-ups. All other sites have a water tap only. The're spring loaded and not threaded...why not a regular tap? There is no recycling here either which is something we find quite often in our US travels :-(

After our walk we sat outside for a bit until it we decided it was just getting too chilly so retreated inside. We have really enjoyed our stay at Valley of Fire...a gorgeous area!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you had a good time during your short stay. It sure is a beautiful place.