“It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it. ” – Amelia Barr
(February 2017) There was absolutely nothing that was going to get in our way of having an amazing weekend in Vegas, although believe me when I say that Mother Nature did her very best to test my definition of “fun”.
From car camping to cactus splinters to rainy days and flash flooding, the first couple days were a bit rough… but then the clouds parted (mostly) and the sunshine peeked through, and we found ourselves back in Valley of Fire State Park ready for a hike and an adventure.
Enters stage right: Natural Arches Trail with its sweeping valley views and alley of soft red sand (perfect for a calf workout). The hike itself is flat, but hiking in sand is always a bit of a workout, but the rock scrambling, amazing open space, and complete desolation was completely worth it.
The trail is a 4.8 mile out and back trail, with minor rock scrambling on the trail, and additional climbing at will for some breathtaking views and valley vantage points. The pups were in absolute heaven in this giant sand box which was easy on the paws and fairly obstacle free.
There are lots and lots of rocks, red rocks, the occasional yellow or purple, and then lots and lots more red rocks. I made a few jokes about “at what point do you get sick of seeing more red rocks?” but it turns out that my answer was NEVER.
It was only when I climbed a bit too far out of the comfort of safety during a scramble that I considered possibly having extended my welcome in the desert.
That and the cactus Adam picked up after I’d mentioned that cacti were edible. 🙂 I’ve yet in my adult life managed to make it a week without adding a new scar, bruise, or injury to my collection of outdoor activities… this time at least I wasn’t the one who ended up with the major injury of the trip!
We started at around 1pm and spent about 4 hours roaming through the valley on the trail looking at all of the interesting and unique formations and wondering lots of weird questions about rocks. (Rock Collection Page is coming soon)
The hike didn’t have as many “natural arches” as I would have thought it’d have given the name of the trail. I only saw two or three arches along the trail, none which were particularly large or stood out. Turns out that the largest arch, which is the reason for the trails name, was washed out and collapsed by erosion a few years ago. After reading that back home, some of my rock mysteries and wonders were answered.
Wonderopolis is a super cool website for people like me who always have random questions I want answers to that don’t get satisfactorily answered by the internet. (such as: how do fish stay alive in a frozen lake)
Arches trail was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend on a positive note, and had restored my faith in rain free winter hiking. Looking forward to a return visit to Valley of Fire for more new adventures.