Sunday, October 14, 2007

Valley of Fire

I note with some sadness that here in the SW, the furnace days of summer are officially over. To an old desert rat, this usually means that it is time for the annual DK family pilgrimage to [Valley of Fire in Southern Nevada]. I grew up near enough to this red sandstone rock wonderland to fondly recall many family picnics, hikes, and even once as a teenager being coerced into biclycing through it (note: it is simply not possible to bring too much water). Sadly, due to the park's 2007 schedule of campground reconstruction, it looks like we will be foregoing this year's trek ... so I am contenting myself with last year's memories. I thought some of you who are not familiar with this rugged area might enjoy a few brief recollections along with me.

In all my trips to Valley of Fire, I have yet to make it up to the top of Atlatl Rock. The furthest I can go is about half-way up the [stairs]. Anyone who suffers vertigo will understand. A demented engineer designed the stairway as a viciously open affair, no doubt to generate maximum dizziness while gazing through the non-existent stair risers at scenery so strange as to allow no sense of structure, nothing to help anchor your reeling seasickness. The total height you must climb is equivalent to a 4 or 5-story building. Each step up beyond the first platform takes will power that I don't possess. Yet I've seen small children literally run up & down with gleeful abandon (their parents usually standing with me on the first platform)!

An [ Atlatl ] was truly an advanced paleolithic hunting weapon. It worked so well that many societies which perfected its use had no need to take the next step toward modern weaponry -- gunpowder. I'm sure mankind was no less warlike in those hunting societies, but without guns or even swords, their wars were more, shall we say, "manageable".

So at the half-way point, if I make it that far, I sit down, take out my binoculars & try to get a sense of the amazing [petroglyphs] perched on vertical walls far above me. Climbing up there through the rock declivities, as the aluminium ladderless native americans must have done, is not allowed. I do wonder if I will ever be able to get this close up ....

The object just below the bighorn sheep at the top is an atlatl, the object just below that is the dart, with fletching near the right end of the dart. This rock art site at Valley of Fire may be greater than 1500 yrs in age & is one of the best, most realistic prehistoric renderings of an atlatl in North America. Many other objects depicted & their meanings remain unidentifiable.

I've done The Mouse's Tank hike many times. What is The Tank, why was it more like Mouse's Trap, and who is this Mouse character? See the "tank" & read the story [here].

OK, here is the payoff, if you've made it this far:

DK Valley of Fire photo from 2006

I must have "Rocks in My Head !!"

I am resting because this was an
"Easy Up, Hard Down" hike.
Without a trusty walking stick,
if it had been any steeper,
I would've had to slide back down
on my butt.

And here's how the Deputy Dawg Editor occupied himself while I was up on the rocks.

Note from Deputy Dawg himself : why do my humans think this is fun? my astroturf bed and rock pillow sucked!

I hope this was bearable. Thanks for hanging with me during with my learning curve. Things look very different in Draft than when I Post. Any ideas why?

** Click on the post title for Cat Stevens' "Hard Headed Woman" **


Pursey Tuttweiler said...

I will read this and comment on it later, right now I am contacting you for very selfish reasons. You have inspired a new movie, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Al and Tipper, and I am busy writing scenes. You must play Tipper Gore in this movie, or even Al. You pick your role, you are the muse behind this whole thing.

D.K. Raed said...

Pursey, you caught me while I was still editing, or trying to. Guess who will be right over! Your screen plays are always a fantastical blast.

Fran said...

Hey - you are doing better than me in this blogging business- I can;t get make a link successfully. I am running a MAC computer, and although I have tried, it still eludes me. Maybe you can help me?

D.K. Raed said...

Fran, I left you comment at your place with, literally, all I know about it!

Anon-Paranoid said...

You can always check the preview from the post page when your writing. It looks okay to me the way it is so I'm not sure what you think is wrong.

God Bless.

Cartledge said...

d.k. I peeked in earlier, before I was off to the salt mines, and was enthralled.
Call it familiarity with 'my own' environment, but I really look forward to a chance to explore your desert lands.
I'm a great fan novels describing the history and geography of the region. I'm even probably heat tolerant enough to enjoy it.
Despite my own wonderful memories of antipodean wonderland experiences, I certainly envy the experiences you describe. Thanks

D.K. Raed said...

Anon-Para: thanks, when I try it next, I'll pay special attn. The problem I had with Preview is it wouldn't let me check my various links to make sure they were valid, so I ended up posting & then editing. Didn't seem right. And the different "look" is probably related to the original template. What I see in Preview is nice large type/font & spacing, but when I post, it is this harder to read type/font. I'll either figure it out, or get used to it. That's the kind of hard head I am!

Cartledge: Thanks for checking it out! I had to do so much editing, I hope it looks better now than when you peeked earlier. From movies & books, it seems to me western australia has the same look & feel as places in our SW, so I was thinking it might look familiar to you. And, heat, schmeat, for me it's the bitter windy winters that are hard to take. I don't even sweat until we reach 100-F.

Spadoman said...

This is just fine, Deke... Hard to imagine somewhere I haven't been out that way, but I haven't been to the Valley of Fire. It will be a "must see" on my next trip.

As far as Fran on a Mac, well, I'm on a Mac too. I found that I can do more and have less problems on blogger if I use Firefox. Safari is terrible for blogging. Macs rule!!

Anyway, I'll be out that way the first week of January when I bring my Mom, by auto, to Sedona, AZ, (she won't fly). Maybe a chance then to see the stairway you describe, sounds like a place I'd like to be.

Peace to All

enigma4ever said...

This is excellent, you even did links, and highlightlighted links- I am sooo envious...and also you got pictures to all nicely on the post...all good glad that you are being brave...this looks so great...Keep at it...( and I like Cartledge love posts about geography and places...)

azgoddess said...

i'm so excited when i found that you had started your own blog - BIG HUGS!!

i'll be back often!

i just love petroglyphs - i've taken over 100 pictures of them all around the state of arizona...we have so much ancient peoples here...

love the i'm off you put your blog on my sidebar...more hugs!1

azgoddess said...

oh had to come back and tell you i love this video - i saw him play in chicago back in the day...ahhhh memories

D.K. Raed said...

Spado, I think Sedona is about an 6-hr drive from Valley of Fire, but the new bridge over Hoover Dam may be complete by January, which will help with gridlock from Arizona. To bypass Vegas (if you so desire), take the Lakeshore Scenic Dr north before you hit Boulder City. It will connect with Northshore Rd, which is a wonderful drive around Lake Mead & out to Valley of Fire. After spending time in VofF, you can hop on I-15 & be back in Vegas in an hour. Or you can do the whole thing oppositely (ie, start in Vegas, take I-15 to VofF, then take the scenic drive around Lake Mead back down).

I do hope you make it up that stairway, although beware of the winds in January & hang on tight. The scenery is very similar to Sedona, only without the people. I spent one xmas in Sedona & had fun dragging the dogs around Bell Mtn & other "vortex" trails!

D.K. Raed said...

Enigma: those links drove me c-r-a-z-y & were not the way I really wanted to do it. Overall it was a good learning experience, even though I, literally, spent ALL DAY editing it to be more like the pictures in my mind. I'm so glad you liked it!

AZ: I was hoping these petroglyphs would make you happy. You have tons of great ones in your area. My next petroglyph trip up here will be to the Parawan Gap. If I get good pix, I'll post. Hmmm, you actually SAW Cat Stevens LIVE ... oh, I'm so jealous ... he's really my kind of guy! And thanks for adding me to your sidebar; I hope my sporadic posting is enough to keep me there.

dada said...

d.k. - Great job! Congratulations. I did check in early this morning. Returning tonight, it looks like you topped it up a bit (nicely!). I relate to your frustration..."Preview" doesn't always look like the final posted product as it appears but, obviously, you've adjusted it nicely.

Also, I find I can read a blog I've done over and over, only to have Mrs. Dada read it and find things I misread or didn't catch 3 or 4 times over! (As a result, I often end up editing the "final" after I've posted it, which speaks something for evolution, I guess.

Nice post!

D.K. Raed said...

Dada, I'm so glad you like it! I kind of used your "footprints" as a model (shameless, I know, hope you don't mind). Due to frustrations in editing HTML (which looks like gobbletygook to me), I found I spent longer (far longer) editing & adjusting than constructing the dang post, but am chalking it up to beginner's ineptitude.

I know just what you mean about proofing. Sometimes I swear, what I read & what appears are two different things! You are lucky to have Mrs D crosschecking & Sam to give it a two-paws-up for final approval. I've asked EK to look over a couple so far, but by the time he finds his glasses, I've already posted!

dada said...

Deke: Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who posts before (error) proofed! (I suppose, in that it's humbling, maybe it's good for us?)

Pursey Tuttweiler said...

I have found you again and linked you again.
Now, I am going to the Peter Frampton concert tonight, but tomorrow I will spruce up the new blog.
You have become a prolific writer.