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Feb 18 2012

A different view of Las Vegas

I’ve been to Las Vegas several times, but every time I’ve spent all my time inside a building, usually a noisy casino. Not this time! I made a hike out to Red Rocks, a very lovely place.

That’s a blurry Vegas off in the distance on the top left, if you were wondering.

33 comments

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  1. 1
    Ray Ingles

    For our honeymoon, we did Las Vegas, and then the Grand Canyon. Don’t ever ever do it in the other order.

  2. 2
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Reminds me of Tatooine*.

    Almost expect a sandperson (?) or two to pop up and attack or see a jawa crawler pass by. Is that Vegas or Jabba’s palace?

    * The fictional Star Wars world not the exoplanet Kepoler 16 b :

    http://www.space.com/12964-alien-planet-star-wars-tatooine-kepler-16b-infographic.html

    which may or may not have jawas present.

  3. 3
    renaissance13

    Mos Eisley…?

  4. 4
    jamesjohnson

    Did you find the high water mark Hunter Thompson remarked about in “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas”?

  5. 5
    autumn

    I think that I stand as one of the few people on the planet who has absolutly zero desire to ever visit Las Vegas. I dislike crowds, can’t understand the thought of gambling, and hate ostentatious battles of consumption.
    That said, there is a lot very near Vegas that I do wish to see, and I guess I’ll have to resign myself to suffering through the city in order to escape it.

  6. 6
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    There’s some good climbing at Red Rocks.

  7. 7
    tuxedocartman

    I used to live not five minutes away from there. One of the things I do miss about Vegas.

  8. 8
    llewelly

    Red Rocks is indeed beautiful. Also beautiful in that are is the Virgin River Valley.

  9. 9
    Avicenna

    Well it is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  10. 10
    Steve Caldwell

    When my kids were little and I went to Las Vegas for a business trip, they asked what Las Vegas was like. I told them Las Vegas was Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-ups.

    In hindsight, it’s Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-ups with a dash of “Bladerunner” thrown in for good measure.

    If you have time, it’s worth taking in the Hoover Dam tour. Yes, there are ecological issues with damming up the western rivers. But it reminds us of a time in our history where we were much more optimistic about what our government and our society could do (not that this history was perfect – Boulder City NV housed the workers who built the dam and it was a “sundown town” where non-whites were excluded during the time that the dam was built).

  11. 11
    DLC

    Las Vegas. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  12. 12
    tonymoss

    On my single trip to Vegas I found myself looking longingly at the mountainous desert – I would much rather have spent time out there than on the strip.

  13. 13
    Outrage Zombie

    If you’re feeling really adventurous and foolhardy, you could also take a trip into the Vegas tunnels, where life is a complete 180 from the city above.
    Just don’t go alone.

  14. 14
    AussieMike

    Not bad for 6000 year old rock!

  15. 15
    carlie

    The one time I went to Vegas we also went to Red Rock. Absolutely stunningly beautiful.

  16. 16
    Gregory Greenwood

    Reading over the comments, it seems that a lot of people are getting the Mos Eisley/Tatooine vibe from that picture.

    As others have noted, it really is rather appropriate that Las Vegas is such a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    Also, as an off topic but important point:-

    Han.

    Shot.

    First.

  17. 17
    robreed

    I hope you got to see the ancient rock paintings…they were amazing too. That is one beautiful place, agreed!

  18. 18
    david

    One excellent place for viewing older rocks on top of younger rocks. The keystone thrust fault puts gray cambrian sediments above red mesozoic sandstone.

  19. 19
    carbonbasedlifeform

    I told them Las Vegas was Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-ups. In hindsight, it’s Chuck-E-Cheese for grown-ups with a dash of “Bladerunner” thrown in for good measure.

    A friend of mine went to Las Vegas on his honeymoon, and described it as “Disneyland for adults.” I’ve never been.

  20. 20
    epikt

    When I was in Las Vegas I kept remembering a phrase from Fear and Loathing, where Thompson was describing (I think) Circus Circus–”what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday nights if the Nazis had won the war.”

  21. 21
    Shawn Smith

    N.B.: The place is called “The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.” It’s managed by the Bureau of Land Management. You will find the community of Calico Springs and the village of Blue Diamond near where that photo was taken, which looks to be somewhere near the scenic loop. There is a working cattle ranch (Spring Mountain Ranch State Park) which includes a nice little park and theatre that plays inexpensive musical theatre plays in Summer evenings near Blue Diamond as well.

    And to all you assholes calling it Tatooine, it is not a barren moonscape. There’s plenty of vegetation, and the rainfall, although sparse, is frequent enough to support a population of burros and other wildlife.

  22. 22
    AussieMike

    Nope sorry @Shawn Smith. I can see moisture vaporators in the distance and that over to the far right is where Beggars Canyon is. Tosche Station and Anchorhead are somewhere off in the Blue haze at the top righ of the image. Nice Try Shawn…”National Conservation Area” what planet are you from??

  23. 23
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’ve spent some time in Vegas and while it is fun for short periods there are better places to go if you want real, authentic, debauchery and “adult” playtime.

    New Orleans.

    It doesn’t have the glitz and glamour but it’s the real deal. Vegas is all fake.

  24. 24
    AussieMike

    I went to New Orleans in 1993. I had to leave after 5 days because I was spending too much money on real, authentic, debauchery!!

  25. 25
    peterh

    We visited Red Rock Canyon just a week before some cheap punk from a local gang sprayed graffiti on the petroglyphs. He was sufficiently dim in the dome to realize he wouldn’t receive proper status in his gang unless it were provable he did it. He signed his work and got the notice of far more than his fellow gang members. Hope he was made to clean the spray paint off with his tongue. I also hope the precautions against such idiocy won’t keep folks too far from that rock face – the glyphs are astonishing, putting one in mind of the frescoes at Lascaux. Boulder Dam is a worthwhile attraction; the Grand Canyon isn’t far beyond and is beyond words. Take some time to engage the Hualapi & Navaho Indians in conversation; they are ready to tell more about themselves than their tourist traps would indicate. The only worthwhile attraction on The Strip is the fountain show at the Bellagio. 1 hour inside any one of the casinos is exactly like 24 hours inside all of them. The street impersonators of known figures (both real & fictitious) are interesting for about ½ hour and then become tedious.

  26. 26
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I went to New Orleans in 1993. I had to leave after 5 days because I was spending too much money on real, authentic, debauchery!!

    exactly

  27. 27
    uncl3lar

    A great day trip out of Vegas is The Valley of Fire State Park. Parts of it are like a little Arches National Park. I had a great day there once on the way to a TAM.
    http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire-state-park/

  28. 28
    unclefrogy

    I really like the desert it is one of the places you can really see that the is moving under our feet.
    Vegas on the other hand is ugly and tawdry in the extreme one of the ugliest places I have ever seen. All just an imitation of real life geared only of getting you to just give them the money. There is no depth at all to anything except pretense.
    I never read Thompson but this quote is brutal “”what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday nights if the Nazis had won the war.””

    some where in North Las Vegas is the site of the original settlement very different From the higher ground you can see that “the Strip” and the later development was put in the flood plain hence the need for the tunnels mentioned above.
    I also resent the light pollution of the night sky. Gone for miles around is the awesome light of the Milk Way.

    uncle frogy

  29. 29
    Rey Fox

    YES, Red Rocks. Did you make it up to the Calico Tank? Awesome. Then do what I did, try to loop back to the parking lot, realize that there’s no actual trail there, wind up on the wrong side of the rocks, take the long-ish way around and get back just as you’re running out of water. It’s the best way to experience the place.

    I’d think back to some other cool places that I got myself out to while working for the Forest Service*, but I kind of prefer that everybody crams themselves into the casinos and leaves the surrounding natural areas nice and quiet.

    * By proxy, actually. Long story.

    There’s plenty of vegetation, and the rainfall, although sparse, is frequent enough to support a population of burros and other wildlife.

    I think the burros are a bit of a pest, actually. Non-native and crowding out bighorn sheep and others.

  30. 30
    naturalcynic

    You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
    Hey, in Vegas, we say that with pride. And we have a real Jabba the Hut, except he calls himself Sheldon Adelson.

  31. 31
    joebiohorn

    I second the recommendation of Valley of Fire. In particular, it has a wonderful campground right in among the fins of red sandstone. One of our all time favorites.

  32. 32
    ButchKitties

    I third the recommendation of Valley of Fire. It’s ridiculously beautiful. I wish I’d had a better camera when I went, because my pictures do not do the place justice.

    I love Vegas. A large part of the reason I love it is its proximity to places like the Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire, and Red Rock. Plus it’s really easy to get a cheap, direct flight to Vegas from almost anywhere in the US. It’s a cheap place to eat, too, if you know where to look. Do your eating, drinking, and sleeping in the city. Spend the rest of your time in the nearby state/national parks. Not a bad vacation.

  33. 33
    phaedrus

    You’re only 4 short hours from Flagstaff, Arizona, a Mecca of Freethought and beautiful scenery. We await your visit, where you will be drenched in wine and paraded about on shoulders while beautiful young people shower you with flower petals. Or, we’ll buy you a beer – we’re fickle in the Northland of AZ. But you MUST visit next time, it’s much prettier than anything Nevada has – heck, we wouldn’t even bother to drive to things other states call scenic views (YAWN).

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