Thunder Mountain Trail, Red Canyon, UT


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"For pleasure has no relish unless we share it."  
~ Virginia Woolf

As much as I enjoyed wandering around Valley of Fire on Wednesday, I was eager to show some of my favorite places there with Jim.

And since it was cooler today -- and dogs are allowed on trails in the park -- we took them with us, too. They both had fun. (Of course, they did; they're Labrador retrievers, who know how to have fun everywhere they go!)

Jim waits patiently on the White Domes Trail for the dogs and me to catch up.
They're constantly distracted by smells and I'm always taking pictures!

Today was rainy in Las Vegas, with some flooding. The northern part of the city got about half of its annual rainfall in two days. One or two inches doesn't sound like much -- unless your annual rainfall is less than four inches!

I wrote extensively about this park in the last series of five entries dated April 6 and showed a total of 160 photos. I won't repeat any of that here. This entry has all new photos.


We lucked out today with only a little bit of rain on our trip to the park but it was mostly cloudy when we were sight-seeing and hiking. The sky was dark and ominous at times, and partly sunny at others:

Low clouds on the descent through a canyon to the west entrance to Valley of Fire SP

Dark clouds along White Domes Rd.

A bit of rain on White Domes Rd. after our hike

The very next photo I took, a couple miles away at Atlatl Rock -- blue sky!

I'm glad I got so many good photos in the park on Wednesday, when it was sunny while I was there. I had to lighten some of today's pictures while editing them because they were so dark.

I guess because of the threat of rain, even on a spring Saturday the park wasn't crowded. There were fewer vehicles on the roads and at the various trailheads while we were there from about 10 AM to noon.


We paid our $10 day use fee at the west gate, which was manned this time, and headed for the White Domes loop trail. Jim really liked the rainbow of colors along the White Domes Rd. and on the trail. The colors showed up better in person than they do in these photos and were very pretty despite the clouds.

Here are some photos I took out and back on White Domes Rd.:











Even though I prefer the blue-sky photos I took along this road three days ago, I have to admit there is beauty and drama in these pictures with the dark clouds.

I wish there were more established trails through these beautiful rock formations. I don't know if it's safe for me to do any cross-country hiking here, mostly because my sense of balance is deteriorating as I get older.


When we got to the end of the road we parked at the trailhead for the White Domes Trail, which was my favorite trail of the three I hiked on Wednesday. Although White Domes Road was cloudy out and back, at this spot the clouds were white and we could see some blue sky and sunshine.

We took both dogs 4/10ths of a mile down to the wash, which now had some standing water:

Jim and Casey start down the "chute."

Looking back up

It's easier to walk on this bedrock than on the narrow, rocky trail at this point.

Erosion of the darker "desert varnish" on this rock wall makes it look like it's dripping.


If I come back, I want to climb up there, too, to see what's in the distance.

Like any good water dog, Casey wanted to get wet!
This wash was bone dry when I was here three days ago.

Looking at more water in the slot canyon, Jim said, "Nah, let's turn around."

Most people, including us, turned around and returned to the trailhead the same way we came down the "chute" instead of going through the slot canyon and continuing up the other side of the rock formations to complete a loop.

We just didn't know how deep the water would get, and I couldn't remember if the footing was good all the way through the slot. The water was too muddy to see the bottom.

After we got back up to the parking lot another couple told us they waded through the water and found that it was mostly sand, not rocks, underfoot. Oh, well.

I'm glad it was dry when I was here on Wednesday so I could walk through the slot canyon and do the entire loop. Jim did get to see the best part of the loop today, however.

The dogs had fun on that trail, too. They love to explore new places and meet new people. They are both good at negotiating rocks and other rough terrain -- even Cody, who's getting old for a Lab at 13. 


I took close-up pictures of some really cool rocks on this trail today. I love the colors and details:






I also showed Jim the petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock. He climbed up the metal steps to see the best display while I held onto the dogs below.

The viewing platform is 60-70 feet above the ground, I'd estimate.

Jim checks out some of the petroglyphs from the platform.

Here are some more symbols right below the platform.

I also showed him the drawings on the lower wall that most people apparently don't know are there.

Both times I was at the rock I didn't see anyone else looking on the rock wall at ground level to the left of the stairs; they all went up to the platform even though they could see me taking photographs down below.

We drove through the Atlatl Rock CG and Arch Rock CG (both are still full), then exited the park on the east side and headed toward Lake Mead.

Next entry:  scenes from Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2016 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil