My mind was whirring as the man from Scotland told me he had just spent 3 days photographing the Valley of Fire. We were in a jeep bouncing around on our way to photograph one of the slot canyons near Antelope Canyon. I had read an article about the Valley of Fire in a Sunset Magazine some 20 years ago and had filed it away as a place to visit some day. He continued to say it was a beautiful place and would highly recommend going.
Fast forward two weeks and we were on our way there. It was a more or less spontaneous decision, but that made it all the better. The thermometer was at approx. 110°F (43°C), and white I reveled in the heat, my husband was melting. Still it was hard convincing him to not venture out into the desert in the intense heat. At 5 pm, we drove out to the Valley of Fire. The rocks were aglow as the late afternoon sun hit them.
We knew we had at the most 3 hours to explore as the park closes at sunset. We drove along the White Domes Road, waiting for the temperature to drop further so we could hike out to The Wave without killing ourselves in the heat. We quickly realized there is much to discover in the beautiful place and 3 days would have been better than 3 hours.
Then temperature dropped further and at 105°C I decided if we wanted to get to The Wave before the sun set, we had to leave. We’d walk slowly and carry plenty of water. Because we went so late in the day, we were the only people there and had 20 min before the sun disappeared behind the next ridge. The silence in the desert is loud.
Once back at the car, the temperature hit 100°F (38°C) and there was a very slight breeze. The warm air felt like a big embrace. I smiled with pure happiness.
What is it with deserts and sunsets? I breathed a thank you for the past 2 wonderful weeks in the Southwest.