Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Valley of the Gods

Southeast Utah Desert

It's about 600 square miles of empty desert valley uplifted 6,000 feet. Twenty miles of empty dirt road winds though the valley past the strange spires.

This is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Camping is permitted anywhere you can find a spot to pull off the dirt road. Light pollution doesn't exist here. There are no small towns within a 100 miles and the valley is surrounded by 7,000 foot bluffs and mesas.

In two days there will be a new moon. We'll find a spot to camp near a mesa and listen to the coyotes talk to each other.

At 4 AM the Navigator's Triangle (Deneb, Vega and Altair) is directly overhead this time of year. The Milky Way burns a gossamer silver swath across the sky though the middle of the triangle. The Navajos think that it is very bad luck to try to count the stars. It's hard to imagine all this springing from a point smaller than an atom at the moment of the Big Bang. Trouble is that none of the other explanations seem credible either....Just an ant wandering the inside of an empty can trying to grasp what it all means...We need bigger brains.

So. the evening of May 3rd, we'll be out here alone, in the inky black night, ten miles from the nearest road and thirty from the nearest electric light or human habitation.

This place is not well known or widely publicized. Only one of my maps even shows that it exists. It's a lovely, lonely desert. Right now the desert is blooming with wildflowers and greenery from the spring snow melt.


  1. I've been through the Valley of the Gods a couple of times, at different times of the year, and find it to be truly amazing. I hope that it stays off the maps.

    There's a very interesting looking bed & breakfast at one end...

  2. I agree. The Valley is nice just the way it is. It would make a good National Monument, but I like the BLM camping rules a lot better. I hope it doesn't get scarred up to much by off road vehicles or discovered by the masses.