Where? Vegas Baby! to celebrate my cousin Brian's 60th bday. A few others came down from Montana and we met them at the Golden Nugget. Thursday evening we celebrated his birthday at Triple George Grill northwest of Fremont Experience.
DAY TWO: We headed to Cowboy Christmas at LV Convention Center (I was able to replace my earrings that I had bot in 2007 and lost one while hiking several years ago on the Gateway Loop). Later that evening we went to Le Reve after walking 1.25 miles to The Wynn (and that was after walking from Westgate parking to the South Mall at the Convention Center .75 miles AND walking the bottom floor of Cowboy Christmas; that was just way too much walking for my 70 yr old cousin.
I highly recommend Le Reve and there's really not a bad seat in the house; altho we did get the first row and only got a few drops - yes, it's all about the water and some incredible athletes OMG!!! putting on a FABulous show. We took the Monorail via the Harrah's stop to get us back up to Westgate parking. It twists almost as much as it goes straight.
@adilling had posted a triplog and photos in Nov and since I was coming to Vegas in Dec, I put this on our agenda as we would be in the area for a few days. As we're tootling along in Tonto on our way to Valley of Fire State Park, my gas light comes on. Whoops, didn't even think to check the gas gauge. Fortunately 6 miles up the road was a Love's so we filled up and continued on our merry way. The drive from the freeway to those mountains afar is further away than it looks.
We arrived at the Park and were glad it wasn't being swarmed by others. I knew the one main thing I wanted to do was the Fire Wave so after reviewing the map, we headed that way after turning onto Mouse's Tank Road (named for an outlaw who used the area as a hideout in the 1890s). When you first drive by the VC you wonder where the road goes as it looks like it's going to run into the mountain but of course it doesn't. All we knew is we were in for a treat as we got closer to the rocky highs.
Had to stop at Rainbow Vista
and get my camera out to record some of this. We made our way to P3 which is the parking area for the Fire Wave
hike. Across the road and down into a ravine we went altho you can stay higher as there appears to be a few different trails that will eventually turn you south toward The Wave. We encountered some folks along the way as we finally reached our destination and climbed up on the Wave. It sure was pretty all around.
Connie sat down as her feet were hurting (I had taken her on quite the walk in Vegas the previous afternoon and evening). I got Tibbermode (my Rebel camera) out and started firing away. I got one person across the way to do a Wendy so that was fun. Would like to have wandered more but they really encouraged you to stay near the trail so I obliged. BUT guess what we saw: white butts to the west... yep, four mountain sheep. How cool! I had my long lens but figured by the time I changed lenses (since I'm not good at that yet) they'd be gone so I grabbed the ZS60 and grabbed some shots.
On our way back to the TH, we got to see the sheep again as they were making their way across the area in front of us... still had to use zoom but it was fun to see them for so long. On our way back we encountered quite a few more people. We took the high road this time and enjoyed the scenery as we came up the hill.
Next we drove to the end of White Domes
road and had lunch along with many honey bees. I hiked a little up the wide sand trail just to check it out as my cousin was done hiking for the day. From there we drove down the road and back toward the Visitor Center but not before stopping at a couple pullouts and then east on Fire Canyon
Road to the Silica Dome
. There's lots of fun little hikes you can do in many of these areas. It's just so beautiful and we were so lucky that it wasn't crowded.
Once back to the intersection with the VC we headed east to go check out the 1930s CCC cabins
built with native sandstone which are pretty cool. There are three of them and each has a fireplace. These cabins were built for travelers. It's a great little area to explore too. From there we went back to the main road and headed toward the East Entrance. We stopped and hiked up to the petrified log that is all caged and were not too impressed.
The geology is pretty fabulous all the way to the East Entrance
where it opens up into a very large valley with Lake Mead being straight ahead but out of sight. We turned around at the entrance and headed back passing by the Seven Sisters where a wedding looked to be taking place. Next stop was the Atlatl Rock
where there is a steep stair case leading up to view some petroglyphs. There is also a campground nearby. Last were the Beehives
which are unusual sandstone formations eroded by wind and water. This is where the Group Use Campground is. There were several folks climbing on these formations.
And to think with all that I've shared with you that we did in 4 hours, there is still so much we didn't see including Arch Rock and Mouse's Tank plus all the little hikes we could have done. As we drove toward Vegas I noticed that same brown cloud that we get here in the Valley and it was the same thickness. I was a little surprised by that. But it goes without saying, I sure hope I get to go back when I can spend more time.
Part 1 Fire Wave - [ youtube video ]
and Bighorn Sheep
Part 2 Fire Wave, White Domes, Fire Canyon [ youtube video ]
and Bighorn Sheep
Part 3 Fire Canyon, The CCC Cabins, drive toward East Entrance and back to West Entrance [ youtube video ]