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Somewhere in my US travel research I came across a little snippet about this supposedly beautiful valley covered with petroglyphs and within a stone’s throw of Las Vegas. The place was Valley of Fire State Park. The land was used regularly by the Anazai Pueblo Indians until the 12th century AD and in 1935 became Nevada’s first state park. Needless to say, I was intrigued and had to see it.

We ventured off of highway 15, into a nice but fairly standard looking desert landscape. Up and down miles of hills and dips, around a few turns, and there it was, the Valley of Fire. Seemingly painted terracotta red rocks began jutting out of the sand, curved and striated by centuries of erosion. The whole landscape changed into something that seemed a little more inviting than it should have been. Perhaps because I knew going into the valley that people had lived and hunted in this area for over two thousand years, I had the sense that I could leave the car, wander around for days, and be fine – I didn’t try it.