Only about twenty minutes out from Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We drove through the canyon on a winding road taking in the vast, sweeping views of the mountainous terrain. The red rock really does stand out against the earthy hues, with the only other color coming from the blooming desert flowers. There were many points along the road where we pulled off to the side to snap photos and enjoy the crisp blue skies against a jagged skyline. You definitely don’t get anything like this in Florida! We chose to hike the Ice Box canyon trail which ends at a waterfall. Unfortunately, due to the lack of rain, it was more like a water-trickle, but it always is satisfying to make it to the end of a difficult trail. I would certainly come here again if I’m ever back in Vegas and do a different trail because I just fell in love with the views!
The second day in Texas we hiked to the top of Emory Peak, 2,500 feet up and 9 miles long. It was strenuous at times and I do regret not having proper hiking boots, but the view from the top was just spectacular (a 360 degree view!!) To reach the peak you have to scale up large rocks and it can be a bit scary because the wind was stronger at the top. I almost decided to turn around before making it to the end, but I am sure glad I powered through I mean look at those panoramas! About halfway up the mountain there is a clear view of The Window, which allows you to see beyond the mountain range. The weekend would not be complete without a little GoPro action, and you bet I made a sweet video that captures the essence of this crazy road trip.
My sister wanted to do something exciting for her birthday this year and I was like “HELL YEAH!” She is a big fan of rocks and stars so what better idea than to camp at Big Bend National Park in Texas where there is an endless supply of rocks and a sky so vast you can see the Milky Way? My sister is the one with the really bright blue hair and the fantastic ideas and this sounded like her best one yet. This particular park actually measures a level one darkness on the Bortle scale, which is basically a scale for how dark the area is. Level one being pretty damn dark (the darkest in fact). So in the spirit of road tripping we got a group of our friends, packed in a van and drove straight there. The campsite was in Chisos Basin and can I just say the terrain is insane!! We barely have mole hills in Florida, but there were mountains on all sides and plenty of places to explore around the campsite. Day one we went on a few small hikes, soaking in the atmosphere and getting lost. At night the stars came out and just wow!!! If you live in a light polluted area and have never experienced this, let me tell you it is beyond phenomenal especially when the Milky Way rises over the horizon. The gorgeous starry photo above, however, belongs to my friend and awesome photographer Patrick and his site is linked below. If you can believe it, the next day is even more action packed with us all deciding we can take on climbing a mountain…
Patrick’s website: http://www.photopatt.com/