When I explored the possibility of leaving Singapore and moving to the US to be with T, many of my friends were excited until they found out that it’s Las Vegas. To them, the cities “worth” moving to are places like New York City, Los Angeles or even Seattle – big and cosmopolitan, culturally diverse, artistic, etc. What little we know of Las Vegas is essentially casinos, quickie weddings, gentleman’s clubs and the likes.
That is… until I actually lived here long enough to start discovering a whole new world outside the Las Vegas Strip… (Okay, I have seen the Strip maybe 5 times since May this year, so it’s still exciting and fun for me to explore.)
Here are 10 things you need to know about Red Rock Canyon:
- It’s only 24km west of the Las Vegas Strip – not too far away.
- The highest point is 2, 485m called La Madre Mountain.
- The conservation area is one of the easternmost part of the Mojave Desert. (There are different types of deserts even within the same continent. I didn’t know that!)
- As many as 6 different Native American cultures may have been present in this area over the millennia – including the most recent, Southern Paiute (900 – modern times) and the earliest, Paleo-Indians (11000 – 8000 BC).
- There are numerous Petroglyphs and pottery fragments that can be found in this area. (Most people leave these ancient artwork alone so others can enjoy them too.)
- This area is the protected habitat of the Desert Tortoise. (There are signs along the road telling you to slow down and be careful of tortoise crossing.)
- There are many wild animals that can be seen in the Red Rock Canyon – from wild burrows to big horn sheep to rabbits and squirrels.
- The Red Rock was located under an ocean basin during the Paleozoic Era 600 million years ago. (Yes you get to walk on a prehistoric seabed!)
- The varicoloured landscape is a result of the movement of a fault millions of years ago. (Giant lands crash into each other and things are pushed up and around.)
- There are hiking trails and picnic spots but if you’re too lazy, you can take a scenic drive through the entire area instead.
We took Max the Maximum Dog there to run leash free (in some parts where it’s further in and has less people) on his Adoption Day Anniversary. As it was just 1 day before Veterans Day (11 November), the park entry fee of USD7 per car was waived. As you’ve seen from a previous entry, I was all dressed up and I refused to change out of my pretty tulle skirt and sparkly sweater. We chose a relatively moderate trail and we slow walked it for maybe 20-25 minutes before turning back – so it didn’t require crazy hiking equipment or more protective gear anyway. I had a good pair of hiking boots that helped me go up and down the slopes, as well as walk the uneven red rock, which I can’t help but romantically imagine being formed millions of years ago by undulating, prehistoric sea currents as I walked upon them.
If I sound like crazy city folk, I am. When T drove me through the roads that passed Red Rock Canyon (not within the conservation area), I was in awe of the rock formations, the quietness and fresh air… for all of 20 minutes before falling asleep (because his Corvette drives so smoothly *koffkoff*). I also never understood his excitement until I got to walk down the slopes into the basin and see it for myself upclose. It was amazing and breathtaking.While I miss my big city roads with brightly lit street lamps (even in the suburbs) and my efficiently organised public transportation network, I can’t wait to see more of nature and maybe discover an unbeaten path. T has seen petroglyphs in person on hikes and I can only imagine how I’d feel when I do stumble upon some. So not too far away from the neon lights, debauchery and commercially produced musicals, Las Vegas has way more to offer.