November 21, 2014, Overton Mesa, Nevada

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Sandstone and Desert Bighorns in the Valley of Fire

Another trip into the Valley of Fire. Got a little later start than anticipated because of some heavy early morning clouds, initially thought the day was going to be washed out, but the sun broke through around 8 so off I went.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

The target this morning was the Fire Wave, a trail leading off from parking lot #3. The trail leading out to the wave is listed at .6 miles, but it seemed longer to me, probably because of all the stops for photographs in the early morning light.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Textures and colors of the sandstone are quite remarkable, I have never seen so much purple stone before, and mixed in with the reds, oranges, yellows, and whites, sometimes seems all but unbelievable.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Once at the wave, which really is just yet one more supporting piece of the overall incredible landscape here, I crossed over the wash below to gain a little elevation to shoot down on the wave and catch all the glorious colors beyond it.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Turns out, the real highlights of this hike were on the trip back, not retracing my steps on the trail, but rather following the wash most of the way back to the road, and then cutting up and across the sandstone south of the wave.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

The colors in this area are simply mind boggling!

When I made it back to the road, I still had an uphill walk of 3/4 of a mile back to the parking lot. All told, probably covered no more than 3 miles, but for someone as badly out of shape as myself, this was a strenuous, but very rewarding trek, up, down, and over the sandstone and sloshing through soft sand.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

After a little bit of water and a few minutes of sitting around recuperating, I continued my drive out to the White Domes, hoping to run into some of the park’s desert bighorn sheep.

Desert Bighorns
Desert Bighorns

And since today seemed to be one of those days where everything just fell into place for me, sure enough, off in the distance, I spotted some sheep just a 1/2 mile from the end of the road.

Desert Bighorns
Desert Bighorns

I watched for a while to figure out exactly which direction they were grazing in, then grabbed the tripod and 200-400mm lens and trekked out after them, legs and back complaining all the way, but no way was I going to miss this opportunity.

Desert Bighorns
Desert Bighorns

The sheep, about a dozen of them, were, unfortunately grazing slowly directly into the sun, and I had to find a way to at least get in position with the sun anywhere but directly in front of me, that meant I had to somehow overtake the small herd, or at least catch up to them so the sun was at 90 degrees to us.

Desert Bighorn
Desert Bighorn

I ended up scrambling up rocks and putting a small valley between us so they wouldn’t be scared off by my actions, as they were watching my every move very carefully. Fortunately for me, they undoubtably are pretty familiar with people, living in a state park full of hikers as they do.

Desert Bighorns
Desert Bighorns

Just as I reached a point where I might get some decent shots, they all decided to stop grazing in the sunlight of the valley below and retreat up a steep sandstone slope across the way to lay in the shade and rest. After all my hard work, I now was going to have to be happy with whatever I could get in some very difficult lighting conditions. As you can see though, some of them came out fairly well, all things considered.

Red Rock, Valley of Fire
Red Rock, Valley of Fire

A good section of the park, including all the area around the two campgrounds, consists of red rock formations, and these I have not yet explored, being way too distracted by the more colorful portions of the park.

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November 20, 2014 Overton Mesa, Nevada

View through the windshield for morning coffee
View through the windshield for morning coffee

More Sunrises, Colorful Valley of Fire Sandstone, and Desert Bighorns

Image above from this morning, sitting in my recliner having my morning cup of coffee. What a way to start your day! And this happens pretty much every morning. What a life, why I didn’t start sooner …. what an idiot!

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Overton Mesa Sunrise
Overton Mesa Sunrise

Varying colors and cloud cover daily, but pretty spectacular most mornings.

Overton Mesa Sunrise
Overton Mesa Sunrise

While the east/west motorhome orientation for the solar panels doesn’t work so great with the strong north winds, it sure is nice as far as viewing sunrises goes.

Turkeys
Boys’ Club

I found these Toms gathered in the shade on the north side of the Overton Wildlife Refuge. I haven’t been able to figure out if this is a place to possibly get some bird shots or not. I can never find anyone there to ask about how exactly the place runs. Their website says the refuge is open to hunters on even numbered days, and closed to all others, yet a sign posted on their bulletin board state the exact opposite. There almost never are any cars parked in the small lot at the entrance and all the roads into the refuge are posted prohibiting vehicles. Guess I’ll try a few more times before I give up. Incidentally, there are 8 very nice primitive campsites located on the entry road to the refuge, just a few feet from Route 95. Level, partially sheltered by a screen of trees and suitable for just about any length RV. I’m guessing they are free since I don’t see any pay station. No water or dump station though and road noise could be a factor.

Valley of Fire

Desert Bighorn Sheep
Desert Bighorn Sheep

Look what I found yesterday morning! Yesterday morning I did a few miles of hiking in the Valley of Fire State Park and had one of my most productive days of photography in quite a while. Shot sandstone formations for about three hours around the Wave of Fire and then spent an hour or so tracking down a small band of desert bighorn sheep.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Took over 400 shots in all, and where I usually will quickly cull that number down to 50 or 60 to process for the 10 or 20 really good ones, I was only able to cull these down to about 200, and so am going to have to take a few days to get these images into a post.

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

 

 

 

 

 

Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire
Valley of Fire

Please stay tuned!

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When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !