In early November, I spent a few days at a writing conference in Las Vegas (which I’ll write about at some point, probably). Because my flight home, due to prices and whatnot, didn’t depart till late Monday afternoon and the conference closed on Sunday, I had a lot of time to wander around. Casinos, even the nice ones, get old and after spending days around them I wanted something different. Red Rock, not far outside Vegas, offers a distinctly non-glitzy experience. It’s a back-to-nature park that, with a scenic drive and plenty of trails across all length spectrums, holds no barriers for anyone sick of neon lights.
On the day I went, the weather was pleasantly cool – low 70s and windy – and while there were people around, I didn’t feel crowded. Benches abounded at trail heads and overlooks, giving plenty of opportunities to take out the journal and do some scribbling underneath the tall rock faces. The breeze runs through your hair and there’s not a single blare of a horn, no music bouncing around or calls for this or that special. It’s a moment of peace in a town dedicated to anything but.
You’ll see plenty of cacti. Valleys cut through majestic and odd stone. Rock art carved on those same stones. And, unlike some larger parks, the whole experience can be as long or short as you want it to be. Getting through the scenic drive with a stop or two from the strip should only take a couple of hours. Plenty of time to get some fresh air before heading back to the tables. It certainly made the long flights back home easier.
So next time you find yourself in Vegas, if you have a car or access to one, consider taking the jaunt out west. Go on a hike for a few hours. Cure that hangover with something other than more alcohol.
Who knows, you might even see a bighorn sheep.