Friday, March 18, 2011



Noticed at 4 this morning that Bayfield’s temperature back home was 5 degrees warmer than it was here in Nevada east of Las Vegas.  And just the night before it was so warm I didn’t need a shirt!!


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Some readers have suggested we check out Utah on our way home but we feel it is too early in the season & there will be snow & cold stormy weather in the Colorado mountain passes.  Utah is one of my favorite States & has some of the greatest scenery anywhere.  We did swing through southern Utah back in 2007 on our way south hitting places like the Arches, Zion Canyon & Bryce Canyon.  If you type any of those spots into our ‘Search’ box you can find our travel posts & photos from those areas.

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From my chair in the darkened wee hours this morning I kept a wary eye on the Eastern horizon directly out our windshield.  I first saw a faint mountain horizon line as the distant sky began to lighten.  Then, after a bit there it was.  Old Sol was back in the sky & we were finally going to have fire in the Valley:))




Egg salad sandwiches were made, warm clothes put on & with hot coffee in the thermos we were out the door by 7:30 into the Jeep & on our way back to the Valley Of Fire.   Well, what a difference a day & a little morning sun makes.  So glad we waited.


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We knew exactly where we were headed this morning.  The Mouse’s Tank.  There were several places we didn’t stop while in the Park Thursday because the parking lots were jammed with cars & flocks of noisy people.  The Mouse Tank was the busiest Thursday so we headed there right off the bat & sure enough, we beat the hordes.  We had the whole hike to ourselves without one single person to shatter the peaceful mornings silence by yelling & yammering into a cell phone on the trail.  Is it any wonder I have a chip on my shoulder about the insensitive use of cell phones!!




We just could not believe our luck at having this whole trail to ourselves.  Again I cannot describe to you the serenity of a quiet canyon path leading through towering rock formations aflame with the morning sun’s rays .  The beauty all around was incredible as we walked the distance through soft sand amid ancient Indian Petroglyphs high on the surrounding rock face walls.  Half a mile in we came across what is called the Mouse’s Tank.  Rain water collected in a hollowed rock formation.  And due to recent rains the Mouse had lots of water in it’s tank.  Standing there amid the towering rock formations I was reminded again of how fortunate we are to be in the great American Southwest.



Made our way slowly back down the trail with me just going bonkers snapping photos all over the place.  Again, I was in a photographer’s paradise.  I was in my element as a human being.  Only the sounds of some canyon Wrens blended with the silence.  Only our soft voices challenged the Wrens & only our own footprints in the sand to remind us we were really there.


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Our next destination in the Park was also one we had been to the previous day but it too had been heavy with people traffic so we had left.  We refuse to do a trail under those circumstances.  We prefer to enjoy nature in it’s own quiet way & that means no people to destroy nature’s peaceful ambience.






The Valley Of Fire Gods were smiling on us this morning once again when we reached the White Dome parking area & trail head.  Unbelievably, we could not get over our good fortune.  We were the only one’s there.  Now, how absolutely great was that for us.  Minutes later we were on the trail which began with a steep decent down through jumble of rocks.  Fortunately, Park personnel at some point had laboriously engineered heavy stone steps down through some of the rougher stretches.  Remains of an old Hollywood movie set are still there further down with an information Cairn telling about filming done in the Park.  Following that we entered into a short slot canyon with many fascinating rock patterns & structures along the way.  I just love those slot canyons.  Upon exiting the narrow canyon I noticed the trail hooked back in the general direction of where we had started from. As we emerged into the sunlight we both began to realize this was probably one of the nicer hikes we have ever done.  The many rock formations along the path had us stopping & looking again & again at things.  From cactus, yucca plants, Brittle Bushes & tiny purple flowers along the trail to jagged mountain peaks on the sundrenched fiery horizon we took our time to take it all in.  Amidst the towering rock splendor & fields of greenish blue shrubbery stretching across great expanses of sand we talked quietly of future plans & how important it is for us to never lose our enthusiasm, desire or ways & means for returning to these beautifully quiet lands.  Nevada’s Valley Of Fire will go down in our travel books as one of the most intriguingly picturesque places we have ever been too.



I was also reminded again while walking the trail this morning how right our decision was years ago to take a chance & step into the RV Lifestyle when we did instead of waiting.  How right it was for us to invest money in a vehicle that would take us away from the cold Canadian winters to far away warm & beautiful destinations in a comfort style we preferred.  How right it was to do it while we still had our health to hike the mountain trails, drive the winding canyon roads & camp by the many valley streams.  Neither Kelly or I take our good fortune for granted & we are so happy we made the decisions we did years ago.  No regrets:))


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By the time we began heading out of the Park this morning, cars & buses were pouring in.  A big thank you to the Valley of Fire Gods for granting us the quiet & peaceful few hours on the trails this morning.  Very, very, much appreciated:))


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We were back to the rig before noon which was great because we avoided hiking in the heat of the day.  It was 65F on the trail this morning & for us that is totally perfect for hiking.  I also prefer morning light for photos as opposed to mid day too.  With the rigs doors & windows open & gentle breezes wafting through the coach we spent a totally relaxing afternoon getting caught up computer stuff etc.  Thought we might head into Overton late this afternoon to an eating place some reader’s had suggested but we never made it.


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Saturday morning we will have the big wheels rolling again heading for a destination not yet totally decided upon but I do have a feeling we may be driving over one very large bridge spanning the Colorado River in the morning:))


Took a record number of photos today (278) & I hope to get them all into a photo album this summer.

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GROANER’S CORNER:((   Ok, trying saying this one fast….

Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager
imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.


Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. No wonder you were anxious for the sun. The reds in the rocks is absolutely breathtaking!

  2. Those pictures just take your breath away with their beauty. And to have it all to yourselves, heaven.

  3. What a great day for both of you! :)

  4. just simply 'spectacular'..thanks for sharing 'some of your photos'..278!.wow!

  5. We hear you about the decision to invest and just GO! There is not one smidgen of regret. Thanks for the helps about Ajo/Why and now you are helping again with the Valley Fire sneak peek! Another thing for the long list of Southwest thrills.

  6. All we can say is WOW! so glad you had the trails to yourself.

  7. Love your pictures, reminds me a lot of the places we visited in Utah in May 2009. The last week of May 2009 we did encounter snow driving on I70 from Utah to Denver, but it was only on the highest pass, and didn't last for a long time.
    I'm not planning on towing a car/jeep - do you think I could drive around this park in 23' long motorhome.

  8. You're photos are wonderful! Did you study photography or are you one of those lucky people with a natural eye for composition?

    Doesn't matter which, thank you for setting the bar high for my future attempts at recording the wonders of the world around us.

  9. Great that you got your "fire" today..It makes a world of difference in the colors!!

  10. Wow! Beautiful photos. I love red rocks! I'm so sorry we missed that place when we had the chance to see it! Now I'll just have to see it through your eyes.

  11. To Beautiful for words Al,,,,WOW!!

    Try saying this one over and over real fast, "Red Leather Yellow Leather". Over and over, real fast...(don't read it)!

  12. A great day for you and Kelly and the weather co-operated, it doesn't get any better than that, Glad to see you had such a great morning of photography. Enjoy your Dinner. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  13. Amazing work with your camera again Al... you are the MAN!

    It is nice when you can do the trails under conditions you like!

    It is trail blazers like you and Kelly that showed the way for people like Judy and I to follow! We have no regrets about the lifestyle at all... only hopes for the future!

  14. We started our RVing sojourn a little early also, and absolutely no regrets. The timing was perfect, and the 7+ years we had of actual full-time traveling was spendid. Now we are a little more settled in (maybe a lot more settled in) but our goal is to still get out where and when we can, health issues and local responsibilities allowing. Enjoy every hiking and driving and seeing minute you can, guys, because you have no idea when it might not be as easy!

  15. W O W!!!!!!!! Incredible photos and an incredible place. Thank you for sharing :)

  16. Thanks for sharing the miracles beauty of creation.

  17. Wow...Don't you just love those special moments, where things are almost magical.

    Great weather, awesome country, and your best friend to share it with !!

    Thanks guys for the inspiration you provide the rest of us.

    Yep, you definitely made the right move, when you invested in your mobile life !!

  18. Absolutely awesome!! Your pics are just gorgeous and I can only imagine how it was to be there.

  19. Thanks for sharing such totally awesome photos. And thanks for sharing your "no regrets" decision. We are chomping at the bit to get going but yet a small question remains; did we do the right thing? I think reading your words confirms that we did and I think our first "real" trip will solidify our commitment to enjoy the beauty of this great land. Thank you.

  20. I am in TOTAL agreement with all of the commentors regarding your photography skills Al.

    I spent a few days in the VOF last June (at one of the campgrounds) while awaiting the arrival of my sister who was flying into the Las Vegas airport to join up with me to 'journey' for a spell.

    The VOF is one of my all time favorite places so far also and I didn't even get to traverse the many trails, canyons that you and Kelly were fortunate enough to go. It was very hot when I was there and my sister is not used to hiking or even walking long distances, much less in the heat. We were in awe of what we did see and, I do hope to get back there one day to check out the spots you mentioned that I didn't get to see.

    Thanks so-o-o-o very much for sharing.

  21. Gorgeous!! I love following your route. You're basically doing all our planning for us as we go back South along that route later this year. Nina

  22. Gorgeous!! I love following your route. You're basically doing all our planning for us as we go back South along that route later this year. Nina