White Domes Trail: Valley of Fire

Who would have thought the coolest hike at Valley of Fire would be the one without bright red rocks?

My family and I were due for a visit to Valley of Fire. Fall and spring are the best times to go, for obvious weather-related reasons, and I always look forward to climbing on rocks, taking photos, and marveling at the fact that I now live in the desert rather than the plains.

Detail, Valley of Fire

Detail along the White Domes Loop, Valley of Fire | Image by Sarah Vernetti

On previous trips, we had hiked the Mouse’s Tank trail, marveled at the beehive rock formations, and climbed the stairs to check out the petroglyphs on Atlatl Rock. In an attempt to try something new at a park that we’d visited many times, I did some research and decided that the White Domes Loop would be a good fit: an hour of hiking round-trip and home to plenty of interesting geology. Plus, it was located in a part of the park that we had yet to explore.

To get to the White Domes trailhead, drive toward the northern part of the park. You’ll find parking, restrooms, and picnic tables near the beginning of the trail. Right away, it becomes apparent why this is called “White Domes,” since the rocks look very different from the bright red that encompasses the rest of Valley of Fire.

Trailhead: White Domes. Valley of Fire

Trailhead: White Domes, Valley of Fire | Image by Sarah Vernetti

The majority of the trail is sand-covered. There are a few places where it is unclear which way the trail leads, but luckily there are signs to help guide the way.

White Dome Trail, Valley of Fire

A slot canyon along the White Domes Trail, Valley of Fire | Image by Sarah Vernetti

Remains of a movie set along the White Domes Trail, Valley of Fire

Remains of a movie set along the White Domes Trail, Valley of Fire | Image by Sarah Vernetti

Along the way, the trail will take you through a slot canyon. You’ll also find the remains of a structure that was used as a movie set in the 1960’s. A nearby sign indicates that the fragment is left over from the filming of The Professionals. The rock formations are fascinating, and the caves and crevices look like they could be home to Sand People on Tatooine. (Sorry, had to throw a Star Wars reference in there somewhere. It was either that or The Hills Have Eyes.)

Valley of Fire, White Domes Trail

Colorful rock formations line the trail | Image by Sarah Vernetti

Toward the end of the hike, the White Domes Loop provides a beautiful desert vista, which is the perfect place for a few photos.

A beautiful vista at Valley of Fire | Image by Sarah Vernetti

As with all other trails, the normal words of caution apply at White Domes Loop: arrive prepared with water, a map, snacks, good walking/hiking shoes, sunscreen, etc.

For more information about Valley of Fire, drop by the official Nevada State Parks website.

Happy trails!

Fall: recent traveling, writing, and reading

A quarterly update…

Travel

Fall is my favorite time of year to travel, but it’s also the busiest for me and my family. It’s hard to get away while we’re adjusting to the new school-year schedule. However, we did find time to head to St. Louis and central Illinois for a long weekend. We have visited St. Louis many, many times, but this trip featured an added bonus in the form of a Pearl Jam concert. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night in the Midwest.

Writing

I had the opportunity to write travel and lifestyle articles for a couple of local publications this fall. Although fiction-writing is something I really enjoy, it’s always nice to return to my travel-writing roots.

Speaking of fiction, I was lucky enough to have a few stories published recently, including “A Broad Spectrum,” which you can check out at The Las Vegan, and “Inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera,” which appeared in the September issue of Foliate Oak. I also wrote a couple of super-short microfiction pieces for Cuento Magazine and 7×20. After dealing with a bit of writer’s block in late September, I’m happily picking up the pace again this month.

Reading

I finally, finally read The Hunger Games. I might be the last soul on Earth to read the first book of the trilogy, but better late than never. In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I’ve started reading the second book, Catching Fire. And, of course, I’ve been reading lots of short fiction.

Happy Fall!

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Las Vegas? You might be surprised. Be sure to check out my recent article in BLVDS Magazine. I had the opportunity to talk with talented people who have relocated to Las Vegas from around the world.

You can read the article here, or you can pick up the September/October 2014 issue the next time you’re out and about in Las Vegas.

Very Short Flash Fiction: What to Read and Where to Submit

All flash fiction is short. After all, they don’t call it flash/micro/nano/sudden for nothing.

And sometimes stories aren’t just short, they are teeny-tiny microscopic prokaryotes of creativity that aren’t necessarily appropriate for publications that focus on standard-length flash fiction of 1,000 words or less.

Lately, I’ve been writing and submitting a fair amount of extra-short flash fiction. Along the way, I’ve found some great websites, lit journals, and twitter feeds that publish the briefest possible prose and poems. Looking for a place to submit your work, or just want to do some quick reading? Check out these publications.

I’ve divided the list by story length. Please remember to always double-check submission guidelines before sending in your work. Also, it’s important to note that some of these markets publish longer fiction too.

150 Words or Less
Page & Spine

Exactly 100 Words
100-Word Story
A Story in 100 Words
RiverLit
SpeckLit
The Drabblecast

100 Words or Less
Citron Review
Mircofiction Monday

Exactly 50 Words
50-Word Stories

Exactly 25 Words
Nailpolish Stories (Titles must be a nail polish color)

25 Words or Less
Espresso Stories

One Sentence
Monkeybicycle

140 Characters or Less
CellPoems
Confettifall
Cuento Magazine
Escarp
Nanoism
Seven by Twenty
Trapeze
Twiction Addiction
unFold

Exactly 100 Characters
The Drabblecast

Poems that can be read aloud in three minutes or less
Voicemail Poems

If you’d like to see your flash fiction publication added to the list, please contact me at sarah.vernetti at gmail dot com. Please include a link to your submission guidelines.

In Case You Missed It: my story in Foliate Oak

To be honest, it isn’t often that my former role as an art historian intersects with my current life as a freelance writer, traveler, mom, and volunteer. However, sometimes all of those art historical tidbits that are floating around at the back of my brain come in handy.

In September, my flash fiction piece “Inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera” was published in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Although the story doesn’t reflect the painting’s mythological theme, the imagery was inspired by one of my favorite paintings. I love the idea of a strong emotional response resulting in a flower-filled vine spilling from one’s mouth. That part of the painting has always stood out to me. In fact, when I studied abroad in Italy and Germany, each student was required to choose one work of art to research. I chose Botticelli’s Primavera. Standing in front of the painting in the Uffizi Gallery to give my presentation became one of my fondest college memories.

If you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll read my story. Just hop over to Foliate Oak’s website:¬†foliateoak.com/sarah-vernetti.html

Summer: recent traveling, writing, and reading

A quick quarterly update…

Travel

This summer started with a visit to two states that were new to me: Wyoming and South Dakota. I also spent a few days in Denver watching baseball and holding tarantulas. During a weekend at Disneyland, I rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad too many times and stood in line for two hours to meet Anna and Elsa of Frozen fame.

Part of living in Las Vegas is serving as a tour guide for family and friends who come to visit. I got to show off some of my favorite Las Vegas sights this summer including the High Roller and the Bellagio Fountains.

Writing

My short story “Deficit” was published by Black Denim Lit in June, and my science fiction story “Addition and Extraction” was included in the August issue of Beyond Imagination Digital Literary Magazine. My flash fiction appeared in Microfiction Monday, Nailpolish Stories, and The Las Vegan, and I have forthcoming stories in RiverLit (online) and 365 Tomorrows. My summer writing also included travel/lifestyle stories, web/app content, and a couple of movie reviews.

Reading

This is where I have failed over the last three months! I started reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in June and have yet to finish it. I’m enjoying the combination of history and vampire lore, but it is just difficult to find the time to read these days. My goal is to finish the book in the next week or two. After all, I’m pretty sure I’ve used up all of my renewals at the library.

What have you been up to this summer?