Tuesday, December 27, 2011

las vegas (xmas) - red rock canyon

sunday morning we headed downtown to the california hotel & casino for some grub at aloha specialties, the OG hawaiian joint that seemingly hasn't changed for 20 years. nowhere else in sin city can you get a heaping plate of kalua pig & cabbage for under 8 bucks. sufficiently fueled, we exited las vegas and drove 17 miles west to red rock canyon to get away from all the hullabaloo. it was a gorgeous and crisp day... perfect for hiking!

spam musubi!
start of trailhead

turtlehead peak is rated the most difficult of the hiking trails (rating is "strenuous") along red rock canyon scenic drive, so naturally it's the one we took on. it's only 5 miles round trip, but it's a 2,000 feet ascent highlighted by a lot of bouldering and loose rock. after about a mile, the trail is hardly discernible; it's a jumbled mess where you basically create your own path. the easy thing is, there's no right or wrong way - it's just straight up.

there's the peak
making our way up
ice/snow on the backside
made it!
journal at the peak
obligatory pose
view of the canyon
view of the vegas strip

after reaching the saddle, it's another half mile up thru patchy ice/snow to the top of turtlehead peak. we reached the summit around 2:30pm, read some journal entries from previous hikers, paused to scarf down some toblerone & clif bars, then began the slippery slope down.

sunset at red rock canyon
got back to our car at 4:30pm with just enough sunlight left, to temps in the low 40s. it was a challenging and rewarding hike, which did wonders for the soul in leaving the nicotine-charged sensory overload behind...

one last look

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