The photos that I took were from the top of a mountainside. There was about a 200 foot drop at the edge of this cliff. If you can see where the cliff ends, you can see how the landscape continues on. All of the different colored sediments and shapes were formed by water. One of the areas has a little wishbone of white which is a natural salt deposit.
There are numerous ATV tracks. This area is popular for quads, motorcycles, rhinos, and dune buggies. Though it seems sandy and safe, it is important to wear helmets and if there are seat belts, it's important to buckle up. So many times the sand will lock up wheels and send vehicles rolling. Rocks can get caught into the undercarriage of a vehicle and cause major problems. We watched some of the quads do it. Know your vehicle. Shift appropriately. Don't try to hot dog it or take on any risky climbs. Many of the vehicles that try to climb too steeply end up rolling backwards. Some jeeps had lost their spider gear and were broken down on the trail. Some of the ATV that were going too fast hit rocks or dips and peeled out. Some that were going to fast also ran head first into the brush. Some riders might think that's the fun of it, getting that adrenaline rush from hitting a ditch hard, peeling out on rocks or charging up a hill that seems like an impossible climb. It's a great get away for thrill seekers. That's the fun of it, but it can be dangerous too.
Here is our pit bull, Ellie. She was a sweet dog and sat on the seat the whole time. She didn't bark or complain. She stayed calm and was a great passenger on the ride.
Here is Rooster. He is an AKC Blue Healer, Australian Cattle Dog. A dog with Rooster's show quality background and bloodlines, they go for $4,000 and up. Rooster is only a year or two old. He is still a puppy. Rooster, the dog, did not handle this ride well. He whined and stepped on everyone in the rhino. He had sharp claws and he constantly clawed legs and arms and clawed stomachs as he stepped across the seats. He tried to put his face in the wind, and he liked to go from one side to the other. He could not sit still. He wanted to jump out of the rhino, but we wouldn't let him. Every time he saw another male dog, he wanted to jump off the rhino and fight. Rooster had to be held back. He drooled, and he tried to sit by the pit bull, Ellie, but she snarled at him. He had too much energy and was very jittery on the ride.
We came across a jeep club. The were having their own rock crawl. There were six jeeps total, and every one of them made it up this hill. The smaller jeeps were the ones that had more difficulty. The small jeeps kept slipping backward on the rocks, but the larger, heavier jeeps just plowed right up the hill. (Note to self -- Buy a BIG Jeep). Part of getting up these steeper hills all has to do with the angle of approach and the speed. Some might say that you're only as good as your spotter. The spotter is the one that angles the jeep. The men on the top that got to the top first walked back down the canyon to help get the other jeeps angled right.
The smaller jeeps struggled. A couple had a baby that was about a year old. They did not take their baby on this jeep crawl. The dad got out and walked with the son, and the mom successfully drove the jeep uphill. Really, any of these jeeps could have turned back, but none of them did. They all made it up the canyon. I have a whole higher level of respect for Jeeps.
All six jeeps made it to the top. That's freakin' crazy!
One thing that happens when you ride rhinos through sand and dirt is that a person can get extremely dirty. By the end of the ride, I was filthy. My clothes were covered with dust. My legs, arms and face were sunburned. There was a thick film of sweat and dirt, and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's getting dirty. I wore water proof mascara, and it worked fine for the ride, but after the shower, it turned to lines of smear. I had to find some emergency make up remover. I can't imagine the people that camp in Valley of Fire for weeks on end, living in the dirt. I would never make last for the whole week. When you're riding around on an ATV, a daily shower is a must.
Here are some more pictures of the dogs. Rooster is such a pretty puppy. He has the prettiest blue gray fur, and Ellie always has a smile on her face. She is a great dog.
Rooster is sure glad to be back from riding over the dunes. Rooster didn't handle the ride very well. When he's not nervous, he is a really sweet puppy dog. This was the best ending to the day. Rooster comes right up and rests his head on my legs, puppy love. Awe.