Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada, USA and is located only 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas. It was a perfect getaway for Callie and my family while staying in Las Vegas and a much needed reprieve from the crush of humanity that the city endures during the New Year’s celebration. Over 2 million people descend on Vegas for this holiday and after a couple of days of city life, I needed to take a break. Valley of Fire is home to brilliant natural formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes that are more than 150 million years old. The bright red hues of burnt sienna, raw umber and golden yellow ochre, paint the landscape with an artistic and colorful pallet, and when the suns rays strike them a certain way, the rocks and sand dunes appear to be lit with fire. Nature photography is at its best after a storm has washed the sky and nourished the ground and this day did not disappoint me. We drove over to Lake Mead when we first arrived and traipsed through semi dry but sticky mud to get to a cliff overlooking the lake. The clouds were dramatically back lit and reflected perfectly on the calm water, and it was crisp and cool after torrential rains from the day before. There was evidence of flash flooding everywhere and I was thankful we arrived when the storm had fizzled out because it must have been one powerful weather front! The sun came out in the early afternoon which provided ample sunshine for a picnic at Seven Sisters. After we ate we hiked along the Mouse Tank Trail to witness the beautiful petrogliphics that adorn the cliff walls. It was a breathtakingly beautiful day perfectly designed for dramatic and soulful photography. We spotted a group of female bighorn sheep with one yearling lamb quietly grazing along the roadside and ended the day at Arch Rock. I felt refreshed and energized after an afternoon spent outdoors and was ready to head back to Vegas to finish out 2016. Callie loved hiking around Seven Sisters and sitting on the picnic table for lunch. She needed to get away and enjoy the great outdoors and nature too. The next day when we decided to go out for breakfast she dashed under the bed to hide, which is her way of saying she wants to spend the day napping. We granted Callie her wish and let her stay hidden under the bed. We weren’t really going to ask her to join us for breakfast in the first place, and let her think she was getting her way, which pleases her to no end. If you go back to the hotel room after leaving for 10 minutes, you will find her spread out on top of the bed in a blissful state of sleep. She always lifts her head up in disbelief that you are back so soon, blinking in a sleep filled daze and appears consumed with guilt. It is a win-win for all involved. We get to have a quiet breakfast without her and she gets to spend the day in a lazy blur of sleep, thinking she got away with murder.