Valley of Fire State Park 2

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Arch Rock, Valley of Fire State Park (NV.)

Imagine being inside a Star Trek movie, then you’re pretty close to the experience of Valley of Fire. In fact Star Trek Generations was filmed in Valley of Fire, the notorious Captain Kirk died here. It does feel like you enter another world when you enter this state park.


I may not be a huge Star Trek fans, forgive me, (I have seen all the  movies,) but I do understand why this location would be perfect. Numerous other movies, and commercials, have also been filmed here.  The park is easy to access, and less than an hour from Las Vegas. If you want to visit, but don’t feel like driving out to the desert all by yourself, there’s companies that have guided tours in the park, that happily pick you up in Vegas, and take you to Valley of Fire State Park.



These amazing monuments are fragile, and protected. You are not allowed to climb up on top of them (we did see people doing that.)

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There is hundreds of natural caves in the park, and some formations have what looks like huge balconies. With so much housing/protection from the elements already there, it’s easy to see why early human beings choose this place for their home, despite the scarcity of water.

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With every turn of the road, new totally awe-inspiring vistas opens up.

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I think the highest sandstone formation, in the above photo, looks like a huge bird of prey. Can you see the open beak?

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Valley of Fire derives its name from red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Complex uplifting and faulting of the region, followed by extensive erosion, have created the present landscape. 

– Valley of Fire State Park visitor brochure

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I hope you enjoyed the second visit to this incredible park. If you missed the first one, or simply want to re-visit, you can find the first post here. There will be two more posts from Valley of Fire State Park in a near future. To be continued..



Ms Zen

Amazing Nature – Desert – Joshua Trees

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Joshua Tree, outside Las Vegas (NV.)

Joshua trees are fascinating to look at, standing tall in the middle of the desert landscape. It looks like they are reaching up towards the sky. In fact they were named by mormon settlers, that crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The trees unique shape reminded them of a story in the Bible, where Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in a prayer.

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Joshua trees in a desert landscape, along State Route 160, in southern Nevada.

These hardy little trees that grows in southern Nevada, southern California, and Arizona  are actually very sensitive to our current climate changes. Scientists believe that their numbers could be reduced by 90% by the end of this century. Which would have a huge impact on the ecosystem, probably more than we can understand today.

Joshua trees aren’t actually trees, they are succulents, a type of plant that stores water. In their dry ecosystems, however, they are considered trees of the desert. They have a complex root system that consists of deep and shallow root. Their deep roots can reach a depth of 10-30 feet (!) and collect water that no other plant can use. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Joshua trees have been used for wood, and building materials for centuries. I think just looking at them is a treat. The way they reach up towards the sky is such a positive, hope giving gesture. Like they are giving thanks. I think they are  among the most interesting, fascinating plants in the desert. What do you think? Have you ever seen a Joshua tree? How do they make you feel?

It was cloudy yesterday when I took these pictures, and the light was kind of flat. It was a lot of fun experimenting with my new camera anyways, and enjoying nature at the same time. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!



Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share – Viva Las Vegas

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It’s already Friday. I can’t believe it! Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about? All are welcome! 

This week have been really intense in a great way. The result of the past two weeks major life changes (that started here.) This week started out in a smoky northern California on Monday morning. Taking care of the horses at my old job for the last time. Saying my goodbyes to friends there. Driving to Reno (still Monday morning,) with a stop in Tahoe National Forest for a well needed hike. I just walked at a familiar trail, that I’ve stopped at a hundred times before. Taking in the scenery, and catching my mental breath. I purposely planned a short drive for Monday. I stayed in Reno for the night. Just relaxing, trying to grasp that I actually did it. I decided to be happy that my daughter finally get the chance to have a real relationship with her dad, not just the “Santa is back in town” kind of relationship. Instead supporting her decision in the only way that made sense to me. No matter what changes I needed to make. Was it fun to sell the horses? NO! Or leave a job I loved, my garden, and my friends? NO! Was it the right decision? YES! Sure I did it for my daughter, but I also did it for myself. I could never be happy living  far away from her. I feel that it undoubtedly was the right decision. 

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

– Joseph Campbell

I got up at 4am Tuesday morning. When I know that I have an early start, and a long important day ahead, I always bring my own french press (see photo above,) my favorite coffee, and a water kettle. That way I know that the day gets the best possible start. LOL. It may sound silly, but a good cup of coffee gives my morning a great start. I enjoyed a couple cups before hitting the road Tuesday morning. The traffic jam going out of Reno at 5am took me by surprise. Until I realized that I was taking the same road as all the Tesla workers. As soon as we passed their turn it was almost empty. I had hoped to see wild horses, and I did. Plenty, hundreds if you count all the mustangs I saw during the entire drive. Unfortunately they were all in places where I could not stop, either because of traffic, or road conditions. I’m used to driving a truck with high clearance, I realized (without any damage to my that I need to obey different rules now when I’m driving a car. In places where I normally just would of driven of the side of the road, to get that perfect shot, I didn’t dare to do so. Something I had not considered. Hm.. On the other hand as I came further south, there is many places where you can see wild burros without endangering safety, or your vehicle. I took mental notes of different places, close to Las Vegas, and I will go back soon. With my camera.

I drove the majority of the stretch on Tuesday. Landing in the outskirts of Vegas around noon. I got a Nevada insurance for my car, and registered it here, while waiting for my daughter to get out of school. It felt great to have those details taken cared of. Gretchen was with me the whole time, and behaved perfectly at the DMV. Great training for her. I can’t describe the emotional rollercoaster, and pure happiness when my daughter got off the school bus, and I could hold her in my arms. I’ve never been away for her a whole month. We had a wonderful afternoon/evening together.

I spent Wednesday morning taking Gretchen for a long walk, organizing my things, meditating, and driving the final 45 minutes to my new job. It’s in a safe part of Vegas. I felt good driving through the area. I met the mother of the two boys I’m going to take care of. She was as sweet as I imagined while talking to her. I felt very welcome. Which is wonderful, sense I am going to live in their house, and spend a lot of time with the children. The two children are adorable. I’m thrilled to be able to be a small part of their important beginning. I spent Wednesday afternoon playing with them, and getting to know them better. Yesterday, Thursday, it felt like I’ve known them for a long time. Kids are amazing that way, with their flexible minds, just accepting a new person in their life so quickly. I took them to a nearby park yesterday morning, and they loved it. I’m going to do something outside with them every morning, before it gets too hot. 

I haven’t really mentioned Gretchen, but she is very happy. She is used to be outside a lot, and there is a big back yard here, with a huge swimming pool. She is a waterdog, and is thrilled! She sleeps with me in the house, but when I work she plays in the pool. She is happy as can be. The family also have a dog. In the beginning their dog seemed slightly scared of Gretchen. Gretchen is much bigger, but she have overcome that feeling now. We introduced them in baby steps, a few minutes at the time. Yesterday they were playing great. I feel good about it. They are going to have fun together. I am going to work with Gretchen every morning before work, and then again in the evening. Both Gretchen and I enjoy it a lot. It’s time to go out and go over our training routine as we speak.

I’m looking forward to spend time with my daughter this weekend, and to experiment more with my new camera. What do you look forward to? Ay fun plans? Grab another cup of coffee and tell em all about it!  


Ms Zen