The Other Side of Vegas

When someone says “Vegas” most people instantly think of crazy clubs, neon lights, gambling, and all the glitz and glamour that is “The Strip.” Now that I’m a local, I can tell you first hand that there is so much more to this city.

Welcome to the other side of Vegas.

A few weeks back I went on my first real hike. Yes I’ve done some random hiking through the woods a time or two, but never up any sort of mountain. Where has this been all my life?!? Oh wait, I lived in Illinois where the only sort of elevation is going up an on ramp onto the highway.  KB and I went to Calico Basin, which is just outside Red Rock Canyon National Park. Even though you can see the strip in the distance, being out here feels worlds away.

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The road to Calico Basin

Instead of just walking through trails, we decided to go climbing instead. The climb up was fun to maneuver and figure out the best route. The view at the top was amazing. It was so peaceful to breathe in the air up there. Almost magical. There was even a second where it was completely silent-it was a feeling like nothing I’ve ever felt before. With all the chaos going on in the world, it’s nice to know that moments of peace and clarity can still exist. I could have stayed up there for hours, but my butt was getting numb from sitting on the edge of a rock and it was well past snack time. Note to self: next time bring snacks with you!

Flash forward a couple weeks and KB and I went back to Calico, but this time to check out the trails. I was sitting in the parking lot with my drivers door open and my foot hanging out waiting for KB to get there. After a few minutes, I decided I would just close the door, roll down the windows, and turn the radio on instead while I waited. A couple minutes later I see her pull up so I roll up the windows, get out of the car, and I hear the guy in the car next to me say, “lets see what kind of snake that is.” Um excuse me sir did you just say SNAKE?!?!? **side note: I’m terrified of snakes! As I’m standing there in complete shock (so much so that I didn’t even let out a shriek!), I see this big snake crawling out from UNDER MY CAR! KB almost stepped on him as she was walking towards me. I’m pretty sure time stopped in that moment. Turns out he is a gopher snake and he decided he just wanted to cross to the other side of the parking lot; all while trying to give me a small heart attack! I thank my lucky stars that something told me to put my leg back in the car and close the door as I waited, or else that thing could have crawled up my leg and I’d probably still be in the hospital receiving trauma counseling.

Once we got past our near death snake experience, the rest of the hike was really cool. We saw so many lizards, a chipmunk, lots of butterflies, and a huge jackrabbit! We did NOT see any more snakes…amen! I did however, see a random tree in the middle of the trail and instantly became 10 years old again and had to climb it. My inner 10 year old came out again when I came across a rock pile and decided to make my own to match it. (Side note: the new portrait mode on my iPhone creates some super cool pictures of rocks!)

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Left: existing rock pile. Right: my creation

I know there will be plenty more outdoor adventures in my future…I think I’ll just take extra precautions when getting out of my car from now on!

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