Hiking Red Rock Canyon
Heaven on Earth
The bluest of skies, clouds so puffy you feel like you could fall asleep on them, and the loudest thing is the sound of your breath.
It sounds heavenly to me. It's a place where I'd expect to find the deepest of soul searching and recharge the batteries like every human so often needs. It is a place to become reflective, to enable the mind to think freely and soak up the benefits that are only found in nature.
It is these moments where I believe innovative ideas are born. Insight to what might otherwise have been a blur. It all becomes crystal clear.
Acrophobia-That Annoying Fear!
While all of this sounds like the perfect scenario, there is one problem.
I'm terrified of heights. I even wrote a thriller based on this fear, not surprisingly, called Phobia.
I'm certain there are people like me in every crowd who won't deny the absolute beauty of the scenery, and who would love to drink in the profound spirituality that it has to offer, but who can't bring themselves to get past a certain point once they begin walking up toward the pinnacle. Personally, my legs simply stop as soon as the fear threshold has been reached.
Here in Las Vegas, almost any major hike involves a mountain climb in some capacity. How intrepid you want to be is your choice.
As such, I had to give in and man up,or at least woman up,just a little. The view is too gorgeous not to experience.
More Red Rock!
So Many Mountains, So Little Time
There are so many mountains to choose from, and it's difficult to pick a favorite, but one mountain that I enjoy hiking is Red Rock Canyon. I've never made it to the summit however, each time I go, I force myself to scramble a little higher. I wish I could say that I've developed a fierce sense of courage and climb rocks like you've seen some people do, however, my scramble equates to a safe walk while hugging the sides, even if the cliff is fifteen feet away! Yes, I am that afraid.
I don't think I can ever achieve peace by putting myself in any danger, but I look at those people who use sheer body strength and ropes to get to the apex and admire their bravery. The world of us who share this fear can only see what they see through photographs and for me, that will have to be enough.
You won't hear any complaints from me, however, as the view from where I can stand at Red Rock is still amazingly breathtaking. It truly captures the full meaning of serenity and confirms that it is such a beautiful world that we live in. On the days when I am fortunate to visit and it is not crowded, it feels like I have the entire canyon to myself.
Fun to Explore
If you haven't had the opportunity to explore this beautiful canyon, it's something that I recommend doing on your next trip to Vegas. If you are local, the cooler weather is on its way and it is the perfect time to see this great wonder.
The first time we drove through Red Rock, I believe my jaw was hanging open and my eyes were opened wide, trying to soak up and focus on everything that was in my view. The splendid degree of the awesome factor was tremendous and it was one of those times in life where you want to keep rubbing your eyes to make sure that it is real. I can guarantee that it certainly is!
From someone who comes from Long Island, the topography here is completely different, so bear in mind that mountains were not something I was used to seeing. Imagine how their sheer magnificence affected me!
As the name might suggest, most of the rocks are a vibrant red, or more accurately the color of clay. There are many trails to choose from, some labeled as easy, moderate or difficult. Once you traverse along these trails, you can determine how far you would like to go and how difficult you would like your walk to become. Some of the rock are limestone, sandstone or a mixture of both.
Sandstone is an easy texture to walk on and while you should still be careful on it (you're walking up a steep mountain, after all), it is rarely slippery. It's one type of rock I feel safe walking on.
There is also a great deal of gravel and loose rock. When you walk on this, definitely use caution as it tends to be easy to slip on or lose your balance.
Make sure that you keep your camera ready as you may catch a glimpse of wildlife such as wild burros, wild horses and big horn sheep.
This canyon is dog friendly, so feel free to bring Fido along and his favorite treats (and water bowl)!
Are you Afraid of Heights!
What to Wear
I don't suggest going to hike Red Rock in the summer months here in Vegas, as the temperature can get quite hot and unbearable. When you do hike in the cooler months, remember this is a desert, so even if the temperature is a sweet 70, you will still be receiving plenty of sunshine on your walk.
I typically wear loose-fitting clothing so that I'm comfortable, mostly shorts and a Tee-Shirt. Others find it necessary to protect their legs and arms so they wear loose pants and a shirt. I would definitely invest in a pair of hiking boots as they do help keep your balance when walking downward on loose gravel. The traction helps for certain. The sun is always beating down here, so sunscreen is a must! Many people wear hats as well.
What to Bring
This is going on the assumption as you are going on a hike that only lasts a few hours.
Water and lots of it!
Do You Enjoy Rock Climbing?
I normally put those items in a small backpack. Remember, the more you pack, the more difficult your hike is going to be, so try to pack light, but efficient and stay hydrated!
Here in the desert, the effect of the sun can catch up to you before you know it. I can't stress the importance of drinking water on these hikes.
If you do hike here, be careful, go slow and have a great time!
In addition, if hiking is not your thing, there is a thirteen-mile scenic drive that has many stopping points for pictures!
Thanks for reading!
~ Elizabeth Parker
"Bringing awareness about dog adoption and rescue, one dog at a time!"
Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, Paw Prints in the Sand, Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception. All books are available in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon.com.
© 2013 Elizabeth Parker