I spent last week in Las Vegas
losing my kids’ college funds at the slots attending a conference for work. Even though I ran my first marathon there, I’m not much of a Vegas guy. That being said, I did manage to get in a few good runs while I was there. I woke up early several mornings and ran the strip. It’s an interesting experience, being up that early as the sun rises, when many people are just making it back to their rooms from the previous night’s debauchery. It’s sort of like flicking on the light and watching the cockroaches scatter. When the sun comes up on the Vegas strip, the wildest of partiers drag themselves back to their rooms.
Running on the strip in the early morning is actually pretty fun. The streets are nearly empty at that time of day, save the handful of other early morning runners and walkers. You still have to do quite a bit of zigzagging and stair climbing to get across the walkways over the major intersections, but the relative calmness is a nice contrast to the utter madness that is the Vegas strip at night.
I would start from the Mirage where I was staying, run down to one end of the strip at Mandalay Bay, then turn around and run towards the other end, depending on how much time I had. One morning when I had a bit more time, I made it all the way down to the Stratosphere, which I measured to be about 8.4 miles total on Google Maps.
On Wednesday night, I went out with a local running group that I found on meetup.com. They were a really fun and welcoming group, and we went out for a 5 mile trail run in Bootleg Canyon, near the Hoover Dam. I had a great time running on trails that were so much different that anything I’m used to here. Running through the desert and rocks, watching the sunset, it was absolutely beautiful.
Completely different than the beauty of Alaska in almost every way, but beautfiul in its’ own right nonetheless.
We were probably only halfway into the run as the sun was setting, and by the time we finished it was getting mighty dark. I didn’t have a headlamp and nearly tripped several times. I would have been much more worried if I weren’t with a group that knew the area and where they were going.
On Friday afternoon, our conference finished up early, so me and the coworker I was with drove out to Red Rock Canyon and did some hiking around. This is a pretty amazing area, just 20 minutes outside of Vegas, with these beautiful rock formations seemingly popping up out of nowhere.
I wish that we had had more time to explore the visitor’s center and learn a bit more about the history and geology of the area, but I guess that’s what the Internet is for 🙂 There are tons of trails all over this park. You could easily spend an entire day there hiking around and not see it all.
We only had a couple of hours, so we picked a few shorter trails that we thought would give us the most bang for our buck, and we weren’t disapointed. The “Calico Tanks” trail took us up to an overlook with an expansive view of the whole area, including the Vegas strip.
We finished up at Red Rock with enough time before sunset, so we took the requisite trip to the Hoover Dam, about 30 minutes on the other side of Vegas. I’ve gone there all 3 times that I’ve been to Vegas, and it’s still an impressive sight to see. Especially now with the bypass bridge that opened a few years ago (which is quite the engineering marvel in its’ own right), that offers an impressive view of the dam.
On the way home on Saturday, I had a 4 hour layover in Seattle, which I would normally dread. Luckily for me, Sharla was nice enough to offer to come pick me up and entertain me. We had planned on going for a run together, but unfortunately the trail she had picked out was closed due to flooding 🙁 Instead, we grabbed a bite to eat and had some time to catch up after our Ragnar adventure last summer.