Las Vegas, Nevada
One can spend time in Las Vegas and never gamble or see a show or go near The Strip. All those things are fun, and something we've done in the past. Nothing we feel any desire for now. Too many people.
And there's plenty of natural beauty to enjoy around the city, with all the services needed to get through any size to-do list. Let's do that instead!
Tessa gets a much needed grooming with shorter hair for the hotter temps. I've started using PetSmart instead of PetCo because for an extra fee they'll get her done in two hours without putting her in a cage. So far they've done a great job.
One of our good friends from high school lives in town with her husband and we meet them for a long lunch of catching up. Bill and I rode with Phyllis and her date to prom, and she and I were also roommates in college. It's a fun visit, and of course I fail to get a photo.
Although it's close to town, I never realized there's a national conservation area here until I started seeing blog posts a couple years ago. Wednesday we head to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. As expected, the 13-mile drive is filled with natural beauty. But the visitors' center is a wonderful surprise! Definitely in the top three of interpretive centers we've seen, we spend nearly two hours reading, learning and just enjoying the exhibits. For someone with a belief system based on the natural elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth, this place speaks to me on a personal level.
|The Keystone Trust is visible for miles.|
|The visitor center's windows provide a panorama of the Calico Hills.|
|The visuals for the Air exhibit are perfect.|
|Overlapping shadows move with the sun.|
|From volcanoes to wild fires.|
|The designers did such a great job here.|
|Water is explained by walking you along a "wash" showing the impact to the desert.|
|Earth includes rocks, mammals and reptiles.|
|Geology is the big show here.|
|Having all the exhibits outside makes the park itself part of the visual story.|
|Tessa's highlight is meeting her first desert tortoise. She's not a close as this looks, but she was very interested!|
|Nine climbers take on a massive rock face.|
With temps rising we head for Mount Charleston one afternoon where we find much cooler weather. It's another pretty area I had no idea existed just outside Las Vegas. We make a loop of Kyle Canyon road and Lee Canyon Road, enjoying the pine forests and long vistas. There really is so much more to this area than The Strip!
|The ski area is closed, but some snow remains.|
|Of course we didn't bring jackets.|
|The white rock looks like more snow - pretty!|
|Homes here range from small cabins to huge multi-level structures. I'm sure it's a popular place for getting out of the extreme summer heat below.|
|I've never seen an official water condition of "Concerned".|
|We were just in the desert!|
|John and Jodee - what a great visit!|
We make another loop by entering the park off I-15 and coming out along Lake Meade. It's fun to revisit a place where we can just spend time at the "best" places.
|Ribbon through rainbow|
|A majestic view in the Lake Meade National Recreation Area.|
|Brittlebush, Purple Sage and Desert Marigold make beautiful bouquets along the highway.|
Next we're off to Laughlin, Nevada, for our annual high school reunion, with our recently retired friends joining us at the park in their RVs!
Meanwhile Ezra ..........