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Author Topic: Security around Vegas: Frenchmen Mountain and Valley of Fire at night?  (Read 2725 times)
Yvan Bedard
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« on: March 03, 2013, 03:50:13 PM »
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Hello everyone,

This is my first post here and I find this forum very interesting.

I'm going to Las Vegas for a few days (including a photo workshop in Death Valley). I have 2 extra days before the workshop and 1 extra day after the workshop. I've been to Las Vegas twice, including visits to Valley of Fire and several best known national parks in the greater area (Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion, etc.).

I plan to spend 1 or 2 days again in Valley of Fire as I love this spectacular place. I plan to arrive before sunrise and leave well after sunset as I want to do some astro photography with arches (I'll be there at the best time for the PANSTARRS comet).

I also think about making night photos of LV from the top of Frenchmen Mountain East of LV (there is a road to go there).

My question now: are these two places safe for a person who is alone with expensive equipment? Are there things to be aware of at night in Valley of Fire (ex. snakes?)

Thanks in advance !
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 01:07:38 PM »
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My question now: are these two places safe for a person who is alone with expensive equipment? Are there things to be aware of at night in Valley of Fire (ex. snakes?)

If you're walking around in the desert at night, your biggest threat will probably be cactus.   Wear boots and carry a good flashlight.

If you're worried about safety from human activities, I'd suggest you're far safer in Valley of Fire than you are in Vegas.

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Yvan Bedard
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 06:57:57 PM »
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Thanks Peter, according to your reply it is safe in the desert.

On the top of the mountain behind Vegas, it seems to be deserted but
I'm not that sure as it is part of the suburb and I assume there are unsafe suburbs in Vegas as well as in other US cities.

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AndrewMcD
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 05:54:01 PM »
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Thanks Peter, according to your reply it is safe in the desert.

On the top of the mountain behind Vegas, it seems to be deserted but
I'm not that sure as it is part of the suburb and I assume there are unsafe suburbs in Vegas as well as in other US cities.

Anything can happen, anywhere. Seriously, though, just bring water, a flashlight (or an LED headlight, much easier with your hands free), and boots. We used to just drive out to the west side of town in the late 80's and camp in random spots in the desert overlooking the city. You might find Frenchman Mtn a bit harder to get the views you're looking for.
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francois
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 06:15:46 AM »
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FWIW, I've never felt unsafe in those areas. Follow the suggestions above, take a flashlight, ample water supply, good boots and don't get lost. I cannot say the same in urban areas! The last time I spent a night in LV, police came in and asked us to remain locked in our hotel room while they were searching the place to locate suspects involved in a bloody crime just minutes before.
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Francois
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 06:49:19 AM »
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If you are toting an expensive camera, replace the "brand name" strap with a plain black neoprene one (more comfortable anyway) and cover the logos on the camera with black insulating tape. No point advertising the value of your kit to any ne'er-do-wells that might be hanging about.

For desert safety, a US friend of mine recommends a .38 Special with the chambers loaded, alternately, with solid slug and snake shot. Then, whatever attacks you, you only have to pull the trigger twice.

Having said that, having travelled extensively in USA (44 states at the last count), I have never found well-lit city downtown areas or any rural areas any more threatening than in Europe. It really is about behaving modestly and sensibly.
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Yvan Bedard
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2013, 03:12:42 PM »
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Thank you all.

Been there without problem: good boots and flashlight, instructions about snakes, etc.
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fike
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2013, 03:55:42 PM »
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About the boots, I will be a bit more explicit.  Last month in Tucson I got a cactus spine in my foot through my heavy duty hiking shoes.  These are heavy-soled thick shoes for long distance hiking.  Wear a heavy leather boot, particularly after dark.  Watch where you step.  For that, the headlamp is also quite critical.Cactus can be quite dangerous.  As for snakes, be loud and don't muck about in brush or rockpiles. Don't put your hands or feet where you can't see.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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TrailPixie.net

I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
francois
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 05:25:34 AM »
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Thank you all.

Been there without problem: good boots and flashlight, instructions about snakes, etc.

Glad to hear that you made it safely! Hope you're happy with your photos and experience.

 Smiley
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Francois
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 11:58:00 PM »
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Add a nicely ventilated hat with a wide brim, in case you get stuck somehow.  Daytime temperatures well above 40C June through September, which occasional staggeringly hot days.
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