Saturday, 28 April 2012

Climbers, Mountain Sheep and Valley of Fire

On a rest day recently we went out to Valley of Fire State Park. Very colourful! I'm being a lazy blogger and just putting a link to Andrew's post and photos.  :-)

The last two days have involved trad multi-pitch climbs. We've been climbing for 8 out of the last 10 days so I'm very tired! A good tired but at this point happy to be moving on to some hiking in the next few days.

My first lead yesterday involved a knuckle munching corner crack so, added to all the other climbing recently, my hands are a bit stiff and sore today! Yep, left some blood behind on that pitch!

Both days we encountered lots of Desert Mountain Sheep on the way into the climbs. They are very good climbers!

Speaking of good climbers . . . Can you pick out the two climbers in the next photo?  

How about now?? This was across the valley from where we were climbing -- on something much easier!

Very impressive!! 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Springs Preserve

We spent the majority of our rest day at Springs Preserve. An amazing place in any location but especially so near to the strip in Vegas. I would HIGHLY recommend a visit, especially for people with kids. There was so much to do and such a variety of things to see.

We started with the Wings Over the Springs show which featured live interaction with hawk eagles, owls, ravens, barbary and falcons. Very beautiful birds!

There are lots of trails and a beautiful gardens area -- despite the heat (+38c today!), we spent quite a bit of time outside, although not as much as we would have if it hadn't been so hot. We went through the Origen Museum, the Nevada State Museum, and the Desert Living Gallery. We also went through the Sustainability Gallery which was super interesting but, knowing Andrew, is causing me a bit of worry. I'm afraid we're going to have composting toilets in the house soon!

For kids there's a very funky playground, activities, tours and programs such as kids summer camps. Throughout there were various "make-a-craft" areas or other interesting and interactive displays for kids. Also on the funky side was the junk art that was placed throughout the gardens and other outdoor areas.

Even the restaurant was a far cry from the crappy food usually found at places like this. The Springs Cafe is run by the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas.  The vegan burger, fries and quinoa salad we had were very tasty! There are also rooms for conferences and areas for weddings both indoors and out.

Ok, I know I'm almost on the point (or past) of raving about this place but really, it was great! If you're in Vegas . . . go there! Even if it's only for a break from the casinos and resorts. . . or the climbing!

  Origen and Nevada State Museums
Click to view photos

Here's some really great photos taken by Andrew. 

Desperately Seeking Shade

With temperatures reaching 29C for the first three days of climbing and 35C!!! yesterday, we have been trying to plan our climbs around shady areas. Tunnel Vision was great not only for climbing but also for shade. Due to the direction of the corner cracks at least the belayer was always in the shade and going through the tunnel pitch was almost chilly!

Yesterday we went into First Creek area with an hour long hike in with almost no shade. But in this desert wasteland there was a surprising little creek area that we stopped at on the way out to soak our feet. Paradise!
Ahhhhhh. . . 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Our Route to Vegas

As per a previous post, we managed to stay mostly off the Interstate during our drive to Vegas.

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Evil or Egotistical? And Other Random Thoughts

Mojave Max (the tortoise) and his girlfriends were out at the Red Rock Visitor Centre this morning! First time we've been here at the right time of year to see them.

One of the perils of being fair skinned . . . sunburned on the first day out even though I put sunscreen on! :-(

I love Whole Foods! We had a great supper of mushroom lasagna, sesame tofu, beluga quinoa salad with butternut squash and spinach, and an organic Zinfandel from Frey Vineyards in California. Yummy! Chocolate awaiting for dessert.

Today was our "warm up" day at Red Rocks. It's been a while since we've been leading on real rock and we haven't been to the climbing gym lately as much as we should; so we started on some relatively easy one-pitch sport climbs. There were a couple other groups at the area we chose to go. This evil little part of me found great pleasure in the fact that I was climbing better and with more confidence than the fire fighter and the two guys covered in tattoos who were there -- all of whom were at least 25 years younger than me!

Andrew pointed out that we didn't know how long they've been climbing. We've probably been climbing longer than they've been alive. At the end of the day I put on my buff (headband) to hide the helmet-head hairdo and Andrew said it's a good thing it's stretchy so that it fit my swelled head!  :-)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Off the Beaten Path -- Well, At Least Off The Interstate

Once again, we're off on a road trip. Yahoo!  Four weeks where the only "work" involves climbing and hiking in Nevada, Utah, or wherever the mood and weather takes us. Oh ya, and figuring out how to get there. That's "work" too.

Andrew seems to be obsessed on this trip with avoiding the main highways. Which, even though I was a bit tired and grouchy about it on our second day in, I have to admit is awesomely scenic. It takes a bit longer but has been pretty cool to see lots of wildlife (deer, elk, coyote, rabbits, ring-necked pheasant) which you wouldn't normally see too much of from the Interstate, and the wild and varied landscape.

We had a nice hike in Yellowstone which provided a welcome 2-hour break from the car but the roads further in were closed so we had to turn around and re-trace some of our route. Getting to Cedar City took us over a 10,000 ft pass by Brian Head ski resort, and down a very steep winding road. Again, great scenery! And more snowy and closed roads that we had to make our way around.

Without a major detour we had no choice but to get back on Interstate 15 for the last 20 miles or so to Vegas. The worst part was the totally packed 6-lane highway to get around to the far west side of the city.  I'm looking forward to the next few days of climbing at Red Rock Canyon, one of our favourite places, despite being on the fringes of Vegas craziness!