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My Trek to Veridian III

Pesonal Log: Deyvid

I woke up around 6am, donned my Starfleet command uniform circa 2370, and took the would-be turbolift down to the first-floor casino. I met Head Geek Teras Cassidy and Dr. Trek Larry Nemecek near the Rio All-Suite Hotel’s main entrance as our Away Team assembled in preparation for our Geek Nation Tours adventure. After a quick briefing we made our way outside, met our drivers and boarded the SUVs which would take us to our destination: the desert of Veridian III.

Heading out to the desert Larry rode in one SUV, while Teras rode in the other (they would switch on the return trip); each vehicle carrying half of the tour group. I rode in the SUV with Teras along with four other tour goers. As we trekked from the Rio toward the Nevada desert, we introduced ourselves and discussed our connections to Star Trek. Nearing the edge of the desert we made a pit stop for water and snacks, as it would be our last chance for several hours. From there we embarked on our journey into the Valley of Fire.

The Valley of Fire is a portion of the Nevada desert once home to ancient Pueblo people who were sometimes referred to as the Anasazi. In modern times it has become the Valley of Fire State Park which has been used for filming television and movies since the 1960s onward, including Airwolf, Michael Bay’s Transformers, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall and Star Trek: Generations. While the Valley of Fire was used to depict the planet Mars in Total Recall, in Generations it was the far-away planet Veridian III where Captains Kirk (William Shatner) and Picard (Patrick Stewart) worked together to thwart the plans of Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell).

Having traveled deep into the desert where paved roads became dirt paths, our first stop was an area used to film the scene wherein Captain Picard attempted to crawl through a small rock arch which served as a gap in Soran’s force field. In that area there were several rock arches of various sizes. The group investigated the area at length attempting to find the exact spot used for the scene — an endeavor which became known as “the Search for Picard’s Hole.” *facepalm*

Geek Nation Tours - Valley of Fire

Our next stop was a small dry gulch which is home to a piece of the film set used in Generations. A portion of Soran’s metal scaffolding bridge was donated by the film crew to the state park. As it was of sturdy construction, the park officials decided to use it as a functional bridge over the dry gulch. The entire tour group was able to stand on the bridge without any issue, and we all took turns taking photos on – and under – the famous (or infamous?) bridge piece.

Geek Nation Tours - Valley of Fire - Deyvid

From there we traveled to another part of the desert valley where shelters made of stone, constructed by people of the past, still stand surrounded by ancient petroglyphs. Inside the structures are stone hearths where fires were made for warmth and cooking. Stepping inside one of the structures, I imagined primitive people using them to survive. I knelt down and laid a hand on the hearth stone, feeling connected to the past. I expressed to Teras that, as a Native American myself, being physically present at these historic and culturally significant locations held deep meaning for me.

Geek Nation Tours - Valley of Fire - Silica Dome

The the last featured stop on our tour was the Silica Dome, a huge sandstone formation used as the location where Soran erected his missile platform. The iconic image Soran standing atop his platform, arms reaching up to the oncoming Nexus energy ribbon, is on top of the Silica Dome. It was also the stage for the grand finale of the film, where Captains Kirk and Picard defeated Soran, ultimately resulting in the death of James T. Kirk. We were able to get close enough to the dome for some great photos, but were not allowed to hike up the narrow path leading up to the top of the dome. Our guides considered it too dangerous. Larry pulled out his laptop and paper maps to show us the location and orientation of Soran’s missile platform on the dome. From our vantage point, the site of Kirk’s grave, from the scene with Picard standing over the stone gravesite with that lone tree, was on the opposite side of the massive dome. Even though we were not able to get onto the dome itself, being so close to it and the site of Star Trek history was a special experience. Aside from the Star Trek connection, the Silica Dome and the surrounding Fire Canyon was awe-inspiring and beautiful to behold.

As we had been out in the desert for several hours, with the temperature rising above 100°F, it was time to stop at one of the state park’s outdoor rest areas and enjoy the lunch provided for us as part of the tour. We ate and talked about what we had seen. By this time, the strangers who had boarded the SUVs back at the hotel were now all chatting and laughing as friends, brought together by the unique and special shared experience. Teras and Larry addressed the group in closing, and thanked us for being part of the adventure. I, like the others I’m sure, are grateful to Teras and Larry for such a fun and profound opportunity which is only possible with Geek Nation Tours. Each of us will remember this adventure for the rest of our lives.

Geek Nation Tours - Valley of Fire - Larry and Teras

While the Valley of Fire State Park offers tours of their own, the Geek Nation Tours Trek into the Valley of Fire tour goes to special locations not part of the regular park tour, and having Teras and Larry leading the tour with special insights and Trek trivia makes it unique and special. I highly recommend the Valley of Fire tour, and all of the tours offered by Geek Nation Tours.

After hiking through the Nevada desert, touching ancient history, and trekking to Veridian III, we were tired and sweaty on the ride back to hotel, but we were enriched and ready for the largest Star Trek convention in the world. And I was ready to take off that uniform.

STLV2015 Geek Nation Tours

Browse through our Valley of Fire gallery above or click on the images to view the full sized images at Flickr.com.

by Deyvid

One Comments to “ My Trek to Veridian III ”

  • Sheyne July 1, 2020 at 11:01 pm
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    These images are incredible. Do you happen to know where exactly the bridge is in the park? Went today and couldn’t find it. Any tips are appreciated.