Edit Blog Post
Published: August 21st 2007
Sure! Well, not exactly in
I have always loved Vegas in spite of any instincts I may have to feel otherwise. In spite of the fact that it represents excess and frivolous spending, in spite of the fact that it glorifies materialism and pretentiousness. It's a fun town. Bright lights, lots of food. It's a great place to get away from everything and live in a make-believe world for a couple of days... and a couple of days is usually all I can take before I start getting a nervous twitch and the mountains just outside of the city start calling my name. On day 3 of our trip to Vegas, my husband and I rented a car and decided to simply head east on I-15. I had vague knowledge of an Anasazi museum that was suppposed to be about 50 miles east of Vegas in the small town of Overton, NV. We found the museum, and we also found that the Valley of Fire State Park conveniently looped from Overton back to I-15, so that was the route we followed home.
The Lost City Museum
The Lost City museum was small, but for a
museum of its size it offered wonderful examples of Anasazi pottery, projectile points, baskets, and other artifacts. The presentation was very well done, even if it was a bit dated. The art director mentioned that he is planning to overhaul the design and put some new exhibits on display very soon, so updates are coming. One of the most interesting artifacts at this museum are some prehistoric duck decoys from Lovelock Cave, Nevada. The decoys are so well preserved (they are made from tule reed) that you would think they were made yesterday, yet they are ~2,000 years old.
I was shocked at the prices the hotels charged for day trips to the Lost City Museum. The Excalibur, for example, charged $150 for the trip! It only took a little under an hour to drive there, and the drive through the desert is always beautiful. If the museum had a little more of a budget for advertisement, I am sure people would come to visit this piece of American pre-history on their own and enjoy themselves.
The Valley of Fire State Park
While plotting the route back to Vegas, I noticed that road to the
at the Lost City Museum
Lost City Museum led straight through the Valley of Fire State Park and back onto I-15, so we decided to follow that road out. We were glad we did, it was a beautiful drive. This area is on the very tip of the Mohave desert, and derives its name from the red sandstone formations that cover the area.
People have utilized the area for at least 4000 years, and actual habitation by Puebloans occured 1500-900 years ago. I was very happy to discover that there are petroglyphs all over the park. We located the glyphs at Atlatl Rock, which got its name from several depictions of atlatls. An atlatl is a notched stick used to throw spears and darts, and they were widely used before the advent of the bow and arrow. Many experts believe the scene or scenes depicted were either for shamanistic purposes or for religious ceremony. The drawings face exactly east, are at least 30 feet off of the ground and the artist would have been precariously perched on a steep cliff, so the petroglyph's purpose would have to be important for the artist to risk life and limb in this manner. I found the man/goat
The Valley of Fire
It was 110 degrees when we visited. The Valley lived up to its name!
figure to be the most interesting. Most experts believe that this is a depiction of a shaman. Note: The Valley of Fire does not offer bottled water at the visitor center!
I assume this is because they do not want people to litter the park with plastic bottles, however, for day trippers who are not educated in heat exhaustion this is VERY dangerous!! There are not many places to buy water along the way, so I just assumed that the park would sell bottled water at the visitor center/gift shop and we could get it there. I've been to many state parks in the Southwest, and I have never known one not to sell water or have a vending machine. I am very aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion, so I made it a point to limit our stops and activity in the park, but many people who do not have experience in the desert Southwest will get themselves into trouble. Heat exhaustion happens very quickly, and even if the hike is short you will lose fluids very rapidly in the dry, hot weather. There is a water fountain at the vistor center, so as long as you
I could sit and analyze these drawings all day...
bring a container you can refill. We just did not think to bring a water bottle because, as I said, I've never seen a visitor center that did not have water for sale. Maintaining the park grounds and keeping it free of litter is important, but not at the expense of putting lives in danger and the park officials need to rethink this. If they are worried about the bottles then they could always sell souvenir $5 water bottles that people can fill on site. Bottom line: pack at least 2 liters of water per person if you decide to take a day trip to the Valley of Fire.
I am not sure that many tourists are aware of the possiblities for adventure outside of Vegas, and how easy (and less expensive) it is to see these sites on their own. The tours to Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, and the Valley of Fire are very popular, so it seems that tourists are interested in seeing some of the desert Southwest while they are in town. The whole trip through the Valley of Fire and the Lost City Museum took about 6 hours, and cost state park admission costs ($6
per person), museum entry costs ($3 per person), and cost of the car rental ($80). We saved around $50 per person and we did not have to keep up with a tour schedule. I highly recommend taking some time out from the glitzy splendor of Vegas to check out some of the natural landscapes and beauty that the desert Southwest has to offer.
A Few Words on Heat Exhaustion
Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Dehydration:
Cramps in the back of the legs (calf area)
Nausea and vomiting
Increased body temperature (101 degrees or more)
Get to shaded area or indoors, if possible, and rest.
Drink as much water as you can keep down.
Wet a bandana or any cloth and wipe down face, neck, and skin. Put wet cloth on back of the neck.
Use cold / ice packs if available.
Drink as much water as you can. Count on at least a liter per hour.
Water is good, but if you are spending extended time in the heat then you will need to quickly replace your sodium, so powdered Gatorade that you can mix into your water bottle is very
The Valley of Fire
Who knew this was less than an hour outside of Vegas!
It is a good idea to cover your arms with long sleeves to avoid direct sun exposure to your skin. The best method is to layer with loose clothing (tank top under an unbuttoned shirt for example).
Wear a hat to protect your face and eyes from the sun. The hat may trap in a small amount of heat, but it is negligible compared to the benefit of keeping direct sunlight off of your face and neck.
Remember: If sweating stops completely while patient is still feeling heat exhaustion effects, the patient says they are cold in spite of the hot weather, or the body temperature goes to 105 degrees or more this is an extremely dangerous situation. The patient is likely going into heat stroke. Call EMS immediately or get the person to a hospital as soon as possible.
I hope this helps! The desert is a beautiful place, but it is also an unforgiving environment. Remember to pack water, first aid, and snack foods for emergencies.
Tot: 0.065s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 8; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0075s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb