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Valley of Fire State Park Redux (but in Macro!)

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Last August I visited the Valley of Fire State Park with Mr. Misadventures. It was 110 degrees. I took photos, but I didn’t leave the car much…

This past December we planned a return trip for the Spring thinking it would be cooler. So not knowing that I would be staying in Vegas for two weeks working back-to-back tradeshows, we planned a weekend where we would stay at the Element and do some hiking in the park. Funnily enough the weekend landed between the two shows and it afforded me an escape from the strip even if it was for just a few days.

The only thing was, at 6:00 a.m. it was already 90 and at 11:00 it hit 100! But we are troopers (sort of) and did the best we could with camera equipment, sunscreen, water etc. We arrived at the park at 8:00 when they opened (tip:  you can actually arrive earlier than the website states, you just need $10 to self-pay and you can get it much earlier when it is still cooler) and prepared for a day of photos.

Since my last trip I have a new camera which I am still learning to use, so this was basically practice for our trip coming up in May where we will be going to Zion, Coyote Buttes, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon and Moab.

Last time I took photos of the landscape, except when I was capturing the chipmunks sharing our lunch (which I know you aren’t supposed to do!). You can see those photos in my post on my trip as well as additional ones in my Flickr album.

But as I am much more of a macro girl, this time instead of looking up, I was looking down!

And what you see there is such amazing color, unbelievable in a place that is for the most part so dry and dusty, it always surprised me to turn a corner, or come over a little hill and see flowers in brilliant colors such as these:

Valley of Fire flowers

I am a sucker for purple flowers! I love the contrast of this magenta one growing on the cactus and I only saw about 4 or 5 of these the entire day:

Valley of Fire cactus flower

Mr. Misadventures and I were amazed at these white ones we would see from time to time just growing in the sand:

Valley of Fire flower

Trying it with the fish-eye lens (I still need practice!):

Valley of Fire flower

I also loved these small heart-shaped cacti with shades of purple:

Valley of Fire cacti

I love the craziness of the colors and things like miniature trees..or how does this happen?

Valley of Fire symbol

I think my second favorite thing to do is take photos of the road signs, there is something about the combo of yellow with blue skies and desert browns and deserted roads that I find cool:

Valley of Fire sign

By the time we left the park in the afternoon, we were exhausted and I don’t think I have ever drunk as much water as I did on that day! We headed back to the Element.

By the way, I love this hotel! And President Obama had even stayed there since the last time we had been there. It is one of the only “green” hotels in the area and given that the President is not very popular in Vegas, he stayed at this Starwood property 15-20 minutes off the strip.

The only thing keeping me from falling into bed back at the hotel (after a shower of course) was knowing that we were going to a very special restaurant for dinner. Food is a great motivator for me!

There are more photos from this macro-focused trip in my Flickr album.

Visiting Valley of Fire is a great way to get away from the strip or the day and see nature at its finest. Although I am thinking winter might be the best time to visit because it can get pretty darn hot! You can enter the park through Overton and exit close to Lake Mead so you don’t have to take the same route there and back, you can make a round trip and see different scenery.

How about you? Have you had the opportunity to visit a desert park? What was your favorite part?

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