During a recent trip to Vegas, we rented a car and drove to the Red Rock Canyon Conservation area located about 13 miles from the strip in the Mojave Desert.
We arrived at around noon at the Red Rock Canyon visitor’s center. The temperature was already around 35 C (close to 100 F) and thick waves of heat radiated from the asphalt and sweat quickly coated our bodies. We filled our water bottles and quickly returned to the air-conditioned car to drive the 13 mile scenic loop through the canyon. Our intention was to hike some of the trails but the heat was prohibitive and we were unprepared for the exertion (limited water supply and more importantly, limited energy after the previous night on the Vegas strip).
The first two trails – Calico 1 and Calico 2, are perhaps the most beautiful spots along the loop. The rocks looked painted, as if a giant dipped a brush into red/orange paint and brushed the mountainside. Apparently,the Keystone Thrust Fault (millions of years ago) forced the older grey rock up and over the younger red and orange rock creating the line of red.
Despite the temperature, a warm gentle wind blew refreshingly and we were able to explore some of the trails along the higher points of canyon. Walking amidst these rocks reminded me of how insignificant we humans are and yet we have the capacity to impact the world around us in such a profound way.
Many hikers better prepared (with camel backs) ventured further along the trails than we did and we watched brave souls rock climbing in the distance. We were content to sit and enjoy the sun, the blue skies and the overwhelming beauty and power of the place before returning to the craziness of the Vegas strip.