I don’t drive at night when I can avoid it, but after I left the Joshua trees I kept on until, around 10 p.m., I entered Valley of Fire State Park. When sunrise came the next day I was parked at Rainbow Vista before 7:00. That’s one of the first stops available after you climb the hill above the Visitors Center, and as far as I made it that morning. I felt no urge to move on along the road, out to White Dome and the Fire Wave. I was a miner where I stood, surrounded by golden nuggets.
I shot until nearly 11 a.m., then drove to nearby Overton and the city park to wait out the unseasonal heat. Shade and shoes off. In the evening I’d intended to take a short loop hike at White Dome, at the end of the main scenic road, but that didn’t happen—I was waylaid by a few colorful rocks and never made it close to the trail-head. Choices, always choices. At least I had another sunrise tomorrow, before I drove into Las Vegas to meet Ulrich.
“What are men to rocks and mountains?”
―Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice