Showing posts with label Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ahh, those Las Vegas bunnies!

We don't  often 'do'  traditional boxed Christmas gifts at our house. In fact, Joel still points to an elephant trek on Christmas Day through the jungles of Northern Thailand - now many long years ago - as the best gift I've ever given him.

So, it shouldn't be a surprise that this year we gave ourselves a trip to Las Vegas for the holidays. And, by holidays I mean:  Christmas, New Year and BCS "Bowl Week" with its dozens of play-off games marking the passage of  football season for another year.

Since we'd opened the college football season in Las Vegas back in September, it seemed fitting to head back to the comfort of its many casino 'sportsbooks' where we could be surrounded by frenzied fans sipping adult libations while cheering the on-field action, their heads whirling to watch sometimes multiple games being shown on as many as 50 television screens that wallpaper these areas. 

Note: we were't among the 230,000 New Year's Eve revelers who Vegas officials estimate headed to The Strip and Fremont Street to celebrate the arrival of 2011 despite temperatures dipping below freezing. And we left town as the estimated 120,000 attendees were arriving for the highly publicized International Consumer Electronics Show and the lesser talked about Adult Entertainment Expo.  

We opted to take the window of opportunity between NYE and the conventions when room rates drop and football games headline activities.  We spent our first couple nights at the Suncoast in Summerlin, about 15 minutes -- and light years -- from The Strip and its night life, Playboy Bunnies, glitz and glamour.
Late afternoon looking toward the Red Rock Canyon
But in this quiet Vegas suburb, a gateway to the Red Rock Canyon, there are plenty of wide open spaces as evidenced by this image taken from our room.  Out here when you say 'bunny' it means the four-legged kind; the kind that seemed to play hide-and-seek with us on New Year's morning, when bundled up Pacific-Northwest-style to brace against the 34-degree 'high'  of  the day, we took a long walk along the neighboring golf course.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just west of Las Vegas we hit the Jackpot!

Mother Nature provided this win just a few minutes drive and a world away from Las Vegas. Because we had a rental car for the road trip from Santa Barbara, we were able to get away from The Strip and see what else Vegas has to offer. It may have been the first time we visited the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area but it certainly won't be the last. And next time we'll bring our hiking boots!

Visiting the Canyon on an early Saturday morning, we paid the $5 federal entrance fee and then joined a parade of cars winding our way through the canyon on a 13-mile, one-way scenic loop. Shutterbugs like me couldn't resist stopping at each of the overlooks scattered along the route and conveniently each overlook provided ample parking - a plus for Joel, the driver.

There are some 19 hiking trails that lead off into the canyon from the overlook parking areas, ranging from easy walks to more 'strenuous' routes both in terms of distance and elevation changes. Having arrived without food or drink, we skipped the picnic area at Willow Springs about half way through the drive. It's a fabulous setting though for outside dining. And climbers around the world come here to hoist themselves up and down the sheer rock surfaces on more than 2,000 rock climbing routes. Permits are required to climb.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management the Red Rock National Conservation Area encompasses nearly 200,000 acres. You are reminded of the expansiveness from several points along the scenic route. A new Interpretive Center has just opened and is a good place to start your visit.


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