Weekend Coffee Share – Camping at Gold Butte National Monument


Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share! Have a seat! These camping chairs are actually pretty comfortable.


I hope my camp wasn’t too difficult to find? I know…there was many miles of dirt roads to get here, but the view is worth it, don’t you think?  

We left Las Vegas around noon Friday, hoping to get a camping spot in one of the camping areas at Valley of Fire State Park. They have two camping areas Altl Rock, and Arch campground, they are both first come first serve. I’ve tried so many times to get a spot there, without success. I had my doubts that we were going to get lucky this time, but I had to try. You see, there’s this picture that I have in my mind, its been there for about ten months. It is at a particular place in Valley of Fire, at sunrise. I’ve calculated how the light would be there at sunrise, and it’s just the perfect photo. To take a sunrise photo in Valley of Fire you have to camp there, the park isn’t open to the public until after sunrise. There is no dispersed camping in this park, so you have to get a spot at one of their camping areas. Well…the picture is still in my mind waiting to be taken. Even if it didn’t happen this weekend I’m not giving up. 

IMG_4088IMG_4090We did see some Desert Bighorn Sheep while searching for a camping spot in Valley of Fire. IMG_4100Besides, if we had stayed in Valley of Fire we’ve missed out on this place. So where are we exactly? We drove about three hours from Las Vegas to get to this sweet spot.

Gold Butte National Monument is a United States national monument located in Clark County, Nevada, northeast of Las Vegas and south of Mesquite and Bunkerville. The monument protects nearly 300,000 acres of desert landscapes featuring a wide array of natural and cultural resources, including rock art, sandstone towers, and important wildlife habitat for species including the Mojave Desert tortoise (a threatened species), bighorn sheep, and mountain lion. The area also protects historic ranching and mining sites such as the ghost town of Gold Butte, although little but mine openings, cement foundations, and a few pieces of rusting equipment remains. The monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management…..The monument consists of 296,937 acres (120,166 ha).[1] The Gold Butte National Monument fills a gap between Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, creating a continuous swath of conserved land and establishing a wildlife corridor.  

– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It’s an interesting area, right next to the Virgin River. We passed several ranches along the river that looked unusually green, including the Bundy Ranch.


We agreed upon the perfect camping spot for the night a couple hours before the sun disappeared in the horizon. Just enough time to set up camp, make a simple dinner, and some smore’s, before enjoying the sunset.


Sunset over Gold Butte National Monument.



Last Light

I have to admit that I am a big sucker for desert sunsets, and sunrises. I love experiencing the golden hour without the intrusion of man made structures, and honestly, since I became a mom the easiest way to fully enjoy them is on a camping trip (at least for now…)


First Light




How is your coffee? Would you like a refill? I don’t know why but coffee always taste SO good outdoors. I wouldn’t mind exploring some more when we finished up. Are you up for a little hike?




Watch out for the buckhorn chollas, their spines are so nasty, I’ve already taken out a dozen from my legs (they go through pants like you didn’t have them.) I suggest we keep to the dirt roads, and trails. 


Buckhorn Cholla



Ooo, I forgot to mention, I’m doing a little experiment this weekend, I’m traveling light. I only brought a 50mm fixed lens to my camera, and no other lenses. I realized that I barely used my 50mm lens this year. It used to be one of my favorite lenses. I have been able to invest in a couple “better” lenses this year, and my 50mm have been left at home for the most part. I did enjoy putting it to use this weekend. 



Joshua Tree


Baby Barrel Cactus

These sandstone formations, and the beautiful cacti is something extra, don’t you think? I’ve really enjoyed the peace and tranquility of camping this weekend.

A few hours before leaving Las Vegas I found out about the passing of a photographer friend of mine. She was 5 years younger than me, and this was totally unexpected. We met 6 years ago through our love of the wild horses. Naturally that was on my mind. She was a very positive, passionate person living her dreams without regrets. Her joie de vivre will live on.

I sure do appreciate you taking the time to have coffee with me this week. I loved sharing this extraordinary place with you. As usual my personal favorites are available as prints in my gallery. My supporters will have free downloads before the end of the day. How is your week so far? Are you having a relaxing weekend? 

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Eclectic Alli and you are invited to share your own post here.





Published by Sagittarius Viking

It’s all about experiences, and the healing power of nature. Life is about choosing happiness. I entered the magic world of photography when I was five years old. My gypsy soul have taken me to many different countries, and definitely taught me to be more humble. I believe that you are what you eat, body and soul. I enjoy growing my own food, and spending time outdoors. A Sagittarius loves to travel, have an open mind and, and a philosophical view. It motivates them to wander around the world in search of the meaning of life. Sagittarius is extrovert, optimistic and enthusiastic, and likes changes. A lot of that perfectly describes me. The fact that my ancestors, on both parents sides, were vikings, doesn’t exactly lessen my desire to explore. Maybe a slightly more mindful exploring, compared to the average viking. My blog, and my art prints is a results of my (inner and outer) explorations. Love, Maria

45 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – Camping at Gold Butte National Monument

  1. You got lucky with that particular campsite – so much beauty all around, esp. at sunset. Love the overhead shot of the ‘woven’ cactus spines. Cholla are scary with their barbed spines – ouch! Thanks for sharing the desert beauty with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, We were very happy with this spot 🙂 So happy to be able to share it with you. Thank you for having coffee with me. The woven cactus spine was actually right at ground level, I almost stepped on it. I was amazed by the pattern, and how soft it was at this stage (I did touch it.) I hope you are having a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John! So happy to share my photos with you! I didn’t really want to go this far either, but it would of been so disappointing to go home when we didn’t find a camping spot at Valley of Fire. We were already half way..

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maria – you know your nature photos are fantastic – I like the sunset and so many of true details – however – a top photo for me here is the thermos like that! Nice way to start the coffee share!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I so ENJOYED coffee with you at your campsite!! And I enjoyed the hike, I felt like I was there with you with all your wonderful photos! Those cactus look painful, sorry you got those spines thru your pants. Sounds like something that would happen to me. Lol 😀 I can be a little accident prone as I think back on a few vacations I’ve been on…. What a lovely weekend!! 😀🥰♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your 50mm lens sure got a workout this weekend with all your stunning shots, Maria! Hopefully, you will get to camp in VOF soon to get that shot. I learned of a new place, it looks a little like VOF with some of the scenery and of course, the bighorn sheep! Thanks for the coffee!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I did give my 50mm a really good workout 😉 That lens force me to work harder. LOL. It is very easy to get used to zoom lenses. You can actually see VOF in the background. It’s only 20 miles as the bird flies, but you have to drive a big 1,5 hour loop around to get to Gold Butte. I hope you are having a great weekend my friend. Thank you for having coffee with me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great photos! I know, you still have to talk about “the one that got away”, but hopefully you’ll get it sometime soon. My telephoto is almost glued to my camera since I take pictures of birds so often, but I should walk around with my 50 mm some time. Actually, I’ve taken very few photos this year mostly because I haven’t had time to look at/go through the ones I have that I can’t justify taking more…Looks like it was a wonderful weekend! I hope you have a wonderful week as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Trent! The telephoto zoom lens sure is a useful lens for wildlife. I always have my telephoto for shooting wild horses. The 50mm is a different game, kind of makes me want to try and experiment with new angles. I’m sure it is good for me to step out of my comfort zone. I like the photos you share for your coffee share every week. (You do take some new 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most of the photos I’ve posted are phone photos, and those don’t count 😉 I have posted a few from my camera, like from the seal cruise and a few osprey photos. I do like walking around with a fixed focal length lens because it forces you think more. I need to put on my 50 and do some photos, experiment.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Maria. I have an unexpected few hours this morning due to a cancelled long drive to my customer’s site and chose to catch up some on the weekend coffee shares. I am so glad I did. I love your photos and you captured true gold with your final portrait of you and your gal. Priceless.
    Stay safe, but keep up the pace of these explorations. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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