The story behind this photo is kind of funny. My dear friend and I decided we needed a little adventure. We hadn’t hiked in a bit, and we once hiked every weekend. A day trip to Valley of Fire State Park outside Las Vegas was just what we needed. He mentioned a hike to something called Elephant Rock. Neither of us had done in before, and it sounded like a great idea to me. So without any research, we hopped in the truck and were on our way.

We then reached the windy road that traces its way to Valley of Fire. A police car sat in our way. We stopped, and the officer informed us that Valley of Fire was holding a cycling event that day. Huge groups of cyclists would be on the roads. He advised us to be careful (and what he meant was — don’t run over a biker). Got it.

And so we continued forward, proceeding to get stuck behind every single group of cyclists we saw. It was the SLOWEST drive we’d ever taken. There may have been some profanity and certainly much laughter along that road, as we cursed ourselves for not knowing about the race. A drive that normally took 20 minutes seemed to take 2 hours. (I may or may not be exaggerating.)

At last! We finally made it to the Valley of Fire entrance. After sitting for way longer than anticipated, we were ready for that hike. We were pumped up. We were looking for some scrambling, some bouldering, maybe a little rock climbing. We looked at the map we picked up at the entrance. How long was this hike? Elephant Rock seemed fairly close to the road.

No worries. Even a short hike sounded like a good plan.

And then we reached our destination. How did we know? Because we could see Elephant Rock from the road. Not only could we see it, but we could also see that it wasn’t a hike at all. It was literally a hop, skip and a jump from the parking area.

We laughed hysterically. Our epic adventure was a rock on the side of the road.

So, not quite what we expected. But we made the most of it by climbing up and over that rock in every which way possible. We posed, we stood on high, we took a jump shot or two.

Hike or no hike, Elephant Rock is pretty stunning, isn’t it?