Las Vegas

On the way back from New Zealand in May, I made a pit stop in Las Vegas. Strange, I know, because you could not possibly get more juxtaposed than these two places. But my dear friends had randomly purchased a Groupon that brought the price way down and well it was on my way back. I have to admit I was a little nervous about this leg of the trip because I knew I was going to be in the woods a lot in the middle of nowhere in NZ and that my re-entry might be tricky to begin with never mind that it was Vegas. At the same time I was happy that I was going to be able to visit with my friends who I don't get to see that often because we all live all over the place.

I landed at SFO and experienced an odd thing at the gate to Vegas. There was a plane there but the ground crew didn't know where it was going. I had never seen this happen before and it of course caused a swarm around the desk of confused travelers from three different flights. Having just gotten of the plane from Sydney ( I had a layover there on the way back), I was in an interesting state and watched this with surprising calm. It of course eventually worked itself out and they figured out what was delayed and where the plane was going, Vegas, my flight as it turned out. A hop and a skip later, I was on the ground in Vegas. A short cab ride later I was standing face to face with my best friend, twilight zone is all I can say. 

Not knowing whether I was jet lagged, sleepy, or awake, I settled into the hotel, Palms Place courtesy of Groupon . I was the last to arrive even thought it was only 230pm and everyone had hit the pool. Once I had myself together and clean I joined the girls at a meal. Since I had spent my time researching NZ and not really doing much on Vegas since I had been before and there were 7 other people to look into things, I really had no idea what they had planned. They had booked the Bealtes Love show, which I was pretty happy about because I had never seen Cirque du Soleil and I am a Beatles fan. Other than that though, the schedule was pretty open. We had debated an outside of Vegas excursion to a place tbd, but we decided to play it by ear. 

So I know you probably thought this was a post about Vegas but it really isn't. It's a post about Red Rocks Park , our excursion. I'll give a quick rundown on the Vegas part but I really want to talk about Red Rocks.

We went to Tryst, the Beattles love show (good but darker thematically than I expected), One Oak, some outdoor large bar at the Tropicana (for a lot of hours) and the pool at our hotel. That is pretty much the extent of it. We intended to go to the aquarium at the Mandalay Bay but it didn't happen. 

On Saturday morning the excursion was a go. I was very surprised by this and undecided if I was going to go. Then  I did what I did what I did this whole trip, said I wasn't going and the quietly got dressed in the corner and went. I attribute this to not really being sure what time zone or planet I was on. The Park is about a half hour outside of Vegas. You see the rocks as soon as you drive in. We stopped off at the visitor center to get map of some trails. There were four of us. We talked to some very nice park rangers and since I hike I wasn't so much worried about the trails, I was worried about the snakes. So it was pretty much my first question. "What is your snake situation?" They looked at me as if I was an idiot and said "well, we have a population." Four types to be exact he told me. They could probably see the sheer fear in my eyes and said but if you don't bother them they won't bother you. It seemed like this was just one of those things you say. They then told me that in the US the population that gets bit most are males 18-25. He said this is because they tend to taunt them or instead of leaving them alone, do something that is not that. While this should have made me feel better it absolutely did not. 

We made the journey on the road that encircles the park, it was lovely. There were many great vantage points where you could get out and enjoy and each area had its own set of trails. At our first stop there were tons of climbers on the rocks and I always think they are great fun to watch. We eventually got to the stop where they rangers had recommended we do a trail. There was supposed to be a waterfall at the end of it. We took this trail and it was quite nice, but I spent the whole time super tense scanning the ground in front of me for snakes. Yes, it's a serious situation for me. We made it to the waterfall which turned out to be a trickle but it was still fun. We managed to do the whole trail without event and I won't lie I was tense until I got back in the car. I don't know how it is possible to be tense and have a good time, but that is how I experienced it. 

I think this is a great and easy trip to make if you want to get off the strip for a bit. It is beautiful and if you haven't ever seen any other red rocks it is a nice introduction. ( I had only ever seen them in Colorado, I don't  have much southwest experience.)