Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada – The hided stone wave

As God created the world, there was some paint left in the end of the sixths day. But he didn’t need it any more. Therefore he poured it over Nevada’s desert. As men found the place later they called it Valley of Fire. In the midst of Nevada’s inconspicuous desert are mountains of uplifted, faulted and heavily eroded sandstone. Initially the wild formations like elephants, ducks, or beehives are deep-red. There are hundreds, if not thousands of small arches. When going deeper into the park the stones show their unsurpassed diversity: Stripes in white and red, orange and purple, yellow and pink, auburn and maroon neatly pile up, although far-fetched colourful, or mingle as in the Fire Wave like the two doughs of a marble cake that mother stirred thoroughly with a whisk. The rock itself has an elegantly curved narrowing shape that continues in the white and red stripy pattern.

There are many sites to stop along the scenic drive, to take pictures, and to explore. The White Dome Trail in the end of the dead end road is a one-mile-loop and particularly intriguing. The path leads through a sandy, pastel-coloured valley including a short slot canyon.

The visitor center offers plenty of information about the park’s creation. But nobody knows anything about the mysterious area called Little Finland we plan to visit. The police officer’s map just covers a part of the region; I need a connection map, but can’t get one. It is astonishing as well that there is no mentioning of the Fire Wave, not even one photo in the building. After seeing the park and the stone wave it becomes clear why. Even on a Monday there is heavy traffic, and tourists are carted to the park with coaches from Las Vegas. If all of them would trample on the delicate stone wave that’s only 15 minutes hike from the road it would simply disintegrate. And so Fire Wave is left to those travellers who are willing to invest time in research, as other destinations like Hoodoos of Wahweap Creek or Toroweap Point are. Or maybe Little Finland. But that’s subject for tomorrow.

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