Continental US, USA

Utah 2018 Day 4 – Valley of the Fire

Our last lottery attempt, we were thinking the night before if we won the lottery, it’ll be totally worth to change our flight and everything. Well that didn’t happened πŸ™ The 5th try was 30 applications with only 63 people (half the number when we first arrived) so the chance was over 15%! We were assigned #9, a total of 5 draws but not our number nor our number from the previous day was called. I wasn’t too terribly disappointed after 5 consecutive tries because there’s a guy from Japan who was on his 17th consecutive tries! He has been the first person in the room and retained his assigned number #1 for 17 consecutive days. Speaking of dedication, our 5 days is nothing compared to him. I went up and talked to him to find out that he has 3 more days here, I wished him the very best of luck. I hope he wins!

Here are the summary of the stats for our past 5 tries:

Day 1 Thursday, Nov 8: 59 applications total 133 people. The tour company went in for us so I don’t know how many draws that day.

Day 2 Friday, Nov 9: 49 applications total 126 people and 3 draws.

Day 3 Saturday, Nov 10: 48 applications total 123 people and 3 draws.

Day 4 Sunday, Nov 11: 43 applications total 96 people and 4 draws.

Day 5 Monday, Nov 12: 30 applications total 63 people and 5 draws.

Right after the lottery, we drove all the way back to Las Vegas with a stop at the Valley of the Fire State Park. I never heard of this state park until I was searching for any national parks or state parks in between on our way back to Las Vegas. Then, many photos of Valley of the Fire State Park constantly popped up in Instagram and they looked amazing. We made a quick lunch stop at McDonald’s at the town before entering the park; the town, Moapa Valley, is very small so not much options.

The entrance fee was $10 per vehicle, once we paid at the gate, we drove to the visitor’s center to get a map as well as ask the park ranger the location of this photo I saw in Instagram. The park ranger just said it’s on Mouse’s Tank Road (the main road of the park)…..the park ranger probably tired of people asking the same question and don’t want to give it away. It was more fun to find the location yourself πŸ˜›

When we first enter Mouse’s Tank Road, 4 of us were carefully looking to try to figure out the location. Both sides of the road are surrounded by those bright orange colored rocks, it was like another world! Then, we saw cars slowed down and we saw the mountain goat! We rolled down our windows to snap a few photos, it was a little bit far for my 24-70mm lens.

The goat was looking at me πŸ™‚ There were other mountain goats there too and started to run away.

Once we drove pass the bright orange rocks section, the rock colors change to more pastel:

Pulling over on the road is not allowed since it’s only one main road and not much shoulder room so they don’t want to create congestion which totally make sense. Our first stop was the Fire Wave and there are 3 parking lots nearby so finding a parking space wasn’t an issue when we were there in Nov. The trail is only 0.6 miles, very easy for all ages.

Once you walked through the sandy part which I preferred to change into my sandals rather than getting sand into my sneaker. Next section is mainly on the rock…..rock of stripes pattern.

If you look closely, some rocks are actually pink πŸ˜€

Do you see the wavy pattern on that rock far away?

After the past few days of almost no other tourists during our hikes, Valley of the Fire seemed to be more touristy even thought it only receives around
300,000 visitors per year. It often overlooked by tourists from Las Vegas; they usually go to Hoover Dam/Grand Canyon so I definitely recommend a stop here for awesome photos before it gets truly crowded. The photo opportunities here are endless just wish we have more time to be here during sunrise/sunset hours.

We weren’t lucky enough to win to get in The Wave so we went to Fire Wave haha! The “wave” pattern on the rocks are so incredible!

We patiently waited to get this spot and then people lined up after seeing us taking photos of it LOL.

After the Fire Wave, our next stop was the The White Domes Trail. We parked and started our hike, it required walking down uneven rocks so I changed back into my sneakers for it.

As you can see, quite a few people doing this hike.

Once we reached the bottom, there is a mini slot canyon and I was surprised not much people down here considered the amount of people on the way down. We took our time and got some wonderful photos with the pastel colored slot canyon.

The holes or caves on the rock are quite an interesting feature.

The trail is a loop so you come out the other way so after the pastel colored mini slot canyon, there are brighter yellow and pink rocks.

After the White Domes Trail, it was time for us to hunt for that spot!!! We closely examined the Instagram photo and realize the mountain peak on the background so we keep looking around to locate the direction of that mountain peak…that’s the biggest hint πŸ˜‰ We know it has to be in the section of the Mouse’s Tank Road that is surrounded by those bright red rocks so we drove to that section and look for it. We parked at the closest parking lot and walked around. Finally, we found it!

We were super excited that we found the spot and took turn climbing over to the rock for that Instagram worthy photo! Wish fulfilled πŸ™‚ One of my favorite photo of the trip, no wondered it’s called the Valley of the Fire! Those rocks are burning red!

People drove by and didn’t know why we were there πŸ˜‰ Too bad I didn’t have my 70-200 mm lens so those photos required a lot of cropping, thankfully the 30.4 megapixels helped. In this trip, I probably have said multiple times that I wish I have my 70-200 mm lens with us, perhaps next National Park trip! Goodbye Valley of the Fire, you are definitely worth a visit. There are more trails in the park so I recommend a full day there if you have the time!

In less than an hour, we got back to Las Vegas, drove to Chinatown to have dinner at HK Seafood Garden before returning our car. The food was not as great as I hoped and salty. For $77, it was our cheapest dinner and a lot of food. Once we returned the car, we Uber to our hotel – Marriott’s Grand Chateau. I booked a one-bed room and I really like this property on the strip that it has no outrageous resort fee. Our apartment was huge with a full size kitchen and living room.

First time I see a duo shower LOL!

We took a stroll down the strip as this was Jason’s first time in Vegas. I booked the show: Mystere at 9:30 pm at Treasure Island, it was our first Cirque Du Soleil show and we all enjoyed it! I booked when it was on sale for 50% off so we got good seats at $87.33 per person. That concluded our Utah and 2nd attempt to The Wave adventure, it was a lot of fun and took many awesome photos. Now I am thinking, when will be our 3rd attempt to The Wave? My next strategy will be going during the winter months where the lottery takes place Monday to Friday only which means Friday will lottery for Saturday, Sunday, and the follow Monday; that’ll increase the winning chance! Wish me luck next time!

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