Valley of Fire Camping

The sun rises over the valley of rock formations and natural wonders illuminating everything in sight. Crisp morning air fills the lungs and the sight of a bighorn sheep lifts the senses. Excitement fills every ounce of my being as my eyes gaze upon everything with wonder. Possibilities are everywhere and images of paintings dance around in my head. The patterns, striations, huecos, and colors of the sandstone amaze me. I grab my trail sketchbook and start scribbling as much as I can, writing details I want to remember, and photographing where I was at the time. Pictures usually do not turn out as rich as I remember the hues being in person but it is nice to have a reference. I know I will have to add paint later, at home, because the most important part of the journey has not even woken up yet. When she wakes, my husband and I will get to experience Valley of Fire from an entirely different perspective. In the time being, I sit with my dog and draw…fascinated by where I am.

My husband is taking the car to the visitors center to grab the last campsite we found. What luck! There is no more dropping the money in and grabbing a spot. Now, we have to drive all the way to the visitors center and hope no one else gets our amazing campsite while we head out. One of us stays behind, myself and our daughter, so now two. The dog gets to go for another car ride and explore a bit, which he loves. While my husband is out, and the baby is asleep in my arms, I sketch some more. Then, she wakes up and I start putting our tent up for the night. We want to have our tent up to let other people know the spot was taken so they would drive on. Our poles, however, had a different idea. The cord inside of them lost their elastic and it is a huge effort to get the poles to link up. Taking deep breaths in any situation is always important and the best stories, and times, come out of these moments. The tent gets put up with my husband’s help after he returns and we just smile and look at each other over the top of it when it is finished. Our main goal, her and the dog, having a wonderful experience. Accomplished! Stay tuned for our adventures in the park next week. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

-Karen Hilliard

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