On November 16, 2022, we visited a strange landscape of tortured red rock, slot canyons, and blue sky: the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The Aztec Sandstone in the area is so red, that a traveler in the early part of the 20th century who happened to travel through it at sunset said that it looked like the whole valley was on fire. The name stuck.
There are many nice hikes in the park. One of these goes to Mouse's Tank. This is an interesting "waterhole" in a deep recess in the rock.
One can only imagine how the early travelers through this area must have appreciated the water in Mouse's Tank on a hot summer day, but why is it named after a mouse, a very small and not very impressive animal? Well, it is not named after the animal, but rather after a notorious outlaw.
According to the Utah Adventure Family website, Mouse was an outlaw, and he hid out in the Valley of Fire near Mouse's Tank. Nobody else seemed to know about it, and Mouse could stay there until things cooled down. Even though he was in the desert, he usually had lots of water to survive. Apparently the tank, does not always have water, but on our visit the water was cool and deep, as can be seen in the picture below.
I have described my first three rafting trips in the book Rafting the Great Northern Rivers: The Nahanni, Firth, and Tatshenshini.