September this year, my family decided to go on a long-planned road trip through some of the western states of the US – and luckily they offered to take me along.
A few weeks later, I’ve at last managed to sort through most of the images I took on the trip and am looking forward to sharing my impressions of the different National and State Parks that we visited on the way.
Our plane landed late at night in Las Vegas. We did take a glimpse of the colourful lights of the city, however not much more than that, as we were to pick up the caravan – our trusty home for the next weeks – early the next morning.
Picking up the caravan, or RV (Recreational Vehicle) as they are better known in North America, turned out to be a slightly more tedious procedure than expected. Even though we weren’t travelling in the peak season (June to August), the RV renting agency was packed and people were calling in with all sorts of RV-related problems. My favourite “problem” was when people came back into the office to swap their RV for a smaller one after being shocked by the actual size of the vehicle they’d rented. Which, to be fair, I could understand after seeing “our” RV – a 30′ long moloch. I admit that I was glad that my sister and father kept battling whose turn it was to drive next and that I didn’t have to navigate the RV along some of the quite narrow and steep streets we passed.
Our first stop was The Valley of Fire in Nevada.
The first thing I noted about this park, was that it is a State Park. Thus, it is protected and owned by the state that it lies within. On our trip, we’d also come across National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges etc. but more about those later. In any case, as it was pronounced a State Park in 1952, The Valley of Fire is the oldest in Nevada. And with an area of approx. 35,000 acres, it also is Nevada’s largest State Park.
The reason for its fiery names is that the landscape of The Valley of Fire is dominated by red sand dunes and massive red sandstone formations. Even though the landscape does not look too inviting to live in, an abundant wildlife can be found which however is mainly nocturnal (such as coyotes and kit foxes). Nevertheless, the park’s visitor centre has a gorgeous exhibition on the native wildlife and you can watch antelope ground squirrels visiting the feeders that the centre put up.
Sadly, we only spent a short day in The Valley of Fire but it was sufficient to gather a first impression as you can see in the pictures.
If you’d like to read more about the Valley of Fire, have a look here: