Wednesday, March 15: Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire State Park

We arrived at Hoover Dam Wednesday morning, right around the time it opened, so it was yet to be very crowded. Our first stop was the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It was really neat to see the dam from so far above, although I did cling to the wall opposite the railing almost the entire time.

We then drove down to the actual dam, and was told by the parking attendant that tours of the dam were closed that day due to a “freak accident.” Uhmmm please explain?! Never the less, we still enjoyed the walk across the dam and seeing the huge structure for the first time (David’s second time). We stopped in at the gift shop where I bought a dam mug for my dam engineer mom, and then headed out before anymore freak accidents occurred.

Next stop: Valley of Fire! We took the scenic route through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and stopped at an overlook to take in the views.

I was instantly in awe upon entering the Valley of Fire State Park. Photos and descriptions cannot convey how the red rocks and green foliage contrasted each other to make such a beautiful area. We had a lot of fun in the park doing mini hikes.

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The first hike we did was Mouse’s Tank, named after an outlaw who used to hide out in the area during the 1890s. At one point there were prehistoric petroglyphs along the trail, but we weren’t able to spot any on the surrounding rocks.

We then drove up the road a bit to the Rainbow Vista trailhead. This hike was a little under an hour and led us through a sandy field with green splotches (plants), then up a rock face to a summit with beautiful views.

The last hike we did in the park was the Fire Wave trail. We were tired and feeling a little unmotivated to do it, but David found the energy and got us out there. It was worth it. The hike was short, but we got to see some beautiful color markings in the rocks, making it look like there were fire-y waves. There wasn’t really a photo that could do it justice.

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