Lily and I wrapped up our month in Utah and prepared to head into Nevada for the final stretch of our West Coast trip.
Alas, the snow caught up with us and we woke up to a winter surprise on our last morning in Kanab.
The day before it was super windy with dust and sand blowing all over everything. Combined with the overnight snow, everything was a filthy mucky mess! So, on the way out of town we stopped at a car wash to spray off the gunk and grime.
Valley of Fire State Park
This was our first stop as we entered Nevada and we planned to spend two nights at the very popular Atlatl Campground. I was pretty anxious about this stop because the campground is very popular and operates as first-come first-served. All the online reviews I read told stories of how people drive in circles all day frantically looking/waiting for an open site. As cliche as it sounds, we got the last open site on the day we arrived.
It rained one of the two days we were there so I only got one hike in and that was the Fire Waves Canyon Trail. It was spectacular. At one point, I accidentally hooked up to another trail that took me into a slot canyon and around the White Domes. This state park is fantastic and rivals some of the National Monuments, IMO.
The waves of colors in the sandstone were simply phenomenal. I had to stop and pause periodically just to take in the incredible landscape. This was the first time I have ever seen purple sandstone.
Eventually the slots widened and the trail took me around the White Domes and then returned me to the truck and Lily.
On a day that it rained in The Valley of Fire, we took the drive through Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Hoover Dam. The dam tours were cancelled due to the damn virus so the best I could do was walk around and take dam pics from the damn viewpoints.
Here’s a damn video from the Dam Visitor Center viewpoint.
Death Valley National Park
Truth be told, Death Valley wasn’t even on the list to visit, but when I saw it would fit nicely into the itinerary, we made the stop. And, I’m glad we did. It was nice to be out of the winter weather for a bit and also the park is remarkably interesting, and the sun was very bright.
I did the short hike into Mosaic Canyon which is yet another slot canyon on my journey. I have only explored slot canyons carved out of sandstone so this one carved out of actual rock was really fascinating.
On to The Devils Golf Course which was my favorite stop inside Death Valley and Lily got to explore here as well. It was strangely serene being in this place and I wished I had packed a lunch to enjoy there.
Next, we drove the 9 mile Artists Drive Loop and marveled at the multi-colored volcanic deposits. National Parks are truly special places.
And that wraps up our day trip into Death Valley NP. Here’s one last sunset pic before leaving this fascinating place.
Great Basin National Park
Since it was still winter, most of the roads and trails in Great Basin NP were snowed over and/or closed, but the Lehman Cavern was open and I took the ranger guided tour. Parachute Shields are the most unique feature of this very interesting limestone cave.
The cave was discovered about 100 years before it became a National Monument and later protected by the NPS so it’s been somewhat abused and altered. Before becoming a National Monument, tourists and explorers were encouraged to break off stalactites to take as souvenirs. “Whatever you can break, you can take” was the motto.
The biggest scar on the cave is the graffiti all over the ceiling in the “Inscription Room”. Some of the markings date back to the very early 1900s.
Lily and I left Nevada and continued north. We are only one week from the conclusion of this West Coast adventure. Long drive days and overnights on BLM land and Harvest Host wineries are the theme until we arrive back in Seattle.
Finally, we enter our home state of Washington and spend our final Airstream weekend at the Columbia River Gorge on the WA/OR border.
In a few days, we will drive the final few hours to Seattle and wrap up this incredible four month trip. Stay tuned for one last blog before we sign off for the summer and start planning our next adventure.