Sunday 9 April 2017

Las Vegas: MTB, Red Rocks, Mt. Charleston

We had to get out from under Seattle's winter clouds again, Hawaii was not nearly enough. So we looked around for places that weren't too far, weren't too expensive, and were warm and sunny. Vegas was easily the best option, but I hate the Vegas casino strip so this was going to be a very different trip to the one most people make.

Theme song: Cocoon by Milky Chance.

Fortunately Vegas has an amazing array of natural scenery to offer. First up, Red Rock Canyon. We did the Calico Tanks walk, which was really beautiful and the kids had a lot of fun rock scrambling to the top.

So much rock scrambling

Looking out of the canyon from the center point

The kids were very much done hiking for the day, so E and I took turns to walk the lost creek trail while they slept in the car.

Obligatory Bellagio visit

The next day we went to great playground (exploration peak park). We'd promised the kids swimming and the pool at our condo wasn't ready: it was green :( There actually weren't that many pools open at all. We finally settled on the M Resort and Spa Casino which had a heated pool that was decently priced, open to non-guests, and was really nice. Would do it again.

The next day was mountain biking for me. Rented a full suspension bike from Mcghies Bike Outpost in Blue Diamond, which sits at the foot of many miles of really amazing desert singletrack. The bike shop was great, and even let me leave my post-ride beer in their fridge.

The riding is top notch, I had an absolute ball, and rode about 37km. Weather was good, although could have done with less wind.

Great singletrack with beautiful canyon scenery

This Joshua tree used to have a really big branch you needed to duck under.

The next day we went to the acquarium at Mandalay Bay. It was decent, but not amazing. I was enthralled for quite some time watching a huge octopus move around though.

On our final day we drove up to Mt. Charleston. At the (very new and beautiful) visitors centre they were desperate for kids to do their young ranger program, so we did. Afterwards we hiked up Fletcher Canyon, which was a really great walk. In the final section the canyon walls close in tightly, and there was still a bit of snow to navigate around.

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