Elephant Under the Stars
The sign on the Visitor's Center said, "White Domes Road is CLOSED. Due to extensive damage from the rain storms on 8/22, the White Domes Road is closed. There is currently no access to this area (including Mouse's Tank, Rainbow Vista, Fire Wave, and White Domes."
It was the second to last location which caught my eye and made my stomach sink. No Fire Wave? What were we gonna do??? After all, that was the purpose of the trip.
Coincidentally, the Visitor's Center itself was closed too -- missed it by fifteen minutes. However a couple of Rangers were still inside closing up, and I banged on the window and asked if they'd be kind enough to give me a map.
After they graciously let me in and gave me said map, they told me about the storm which had hit the area the previous Wednesday. Two inches of rain in two hours. That's half the average amount for an ENTIRE YEAR, and it did some big time damage to the road, so there would be no hike to Fire Wave this trip.
Of course, the only other time I was at Valley of Fire State Park, three years earlier, I didn't even know the Fire Wave existed, but that was beside the point.
At least Elephant Rock was still accessible. The only problem was that on that first trip, I walked right past Elephant Rock, without even seeing it. What a dumbass.
Not only that; I went about three times as far as I should have before I even realized I had passed it. No confusing this guy with Daniel Boone. And no, I couldn't use the fact that I was suffering from heat exhaustion by wandering around in the 115 degree heat either.
I don't know for certain if that little brown sign that said "Elephant Rock" was on the road back back in 2009, but for the sake of saving face I'm gonna say it wasn't. It just makes me feel better that I found it this time.
The moon was out and it made shooting star trails impossible, but since this trip to Vegas wasn't primarily a photo journey that's OK, so anything we got here was just gravy anyway.