Friday, April 20, 2012

Fisher's Spring Break-Las Vegas Style

Spring Break happened last week and it's time to get it written down for memory sake, before my brain forgets the memories. We usually like to go somewhere that we can hike, explore and relax as well. I didn't want to spend much money and didn't want to travel anywhere very far. Since I have a super awesome cousin in Vegas who loves company and can't fill up her house all by herself we decided to go down there and help her out. It is seriously more luxurious than a 5 star hotel staying here with her.
Cooper and Jordan headed out on Saturday afternoon and got there in the Evening.  Mark and I both had church duties to attend to on Sunday and so we didn't meet up with the boys down there until Sunday evening.  Once we got to Vegas it was dinner time and so we ate dinner at a place called Steak and Shake. It was pretty good.  The boys all had big specialty hamburgers and fries and shakes.  I had a big salad (of course) but also snitched their fries and tasted their shakes.  Isn't that what mom's are supposed to do?  After dinner we came back to the house and pulled out all sorts of treats and the board games and spent time together enjoying each others company. 
 This is the bedroom and bathroom that me and Mark got to use while staying here.
My running has taken a little dive since my 46 mile adventure. On Monday morning, I attempted a run outside in the Las Vegas heat and made it all of 3 miles up and down every little street in my cousin's gated community.  I couldn't get enough water even while carrying a water bottle. I found some sprinklers to run through yet it was still too hot. (about 80 degrees)  I decided to come inside and ran a couple more miles on the treadmill. That was super boring with no t.v. to watch. 
After I showered and cleaned up Mark and I got ready to go out to Red Rock Canyon for a day of hiking, sight seeing and exploring. The boys weren't even slightly interested in going with us which made me sad so we went without them.  We packed a lunch and headed on our way. (In the heat)
A friendly little dude in the visitor's center at Red Rock Canyon. While here we got the scoop on what to see and where to go since we had about 4 hours to use.  The lady at the desk told us about a waterfall and a nice easy loop to hike to see it.  So we decided to definitely plan to see that. 
Red Rock Canyon is a 13 mile one-way loop that has many stops to get out of your car and go on trails for additional hiking.  Can you guess what I was totally thinking when I learned it was 13 miles??  What a great place this would be to run a half marathon!!  Well, when it's not 75-80 degrees.
Can you see the trail way down the hill on the right side of the picture?  I wasn't feeling ambitious enough to explore that far.  This mountain side was beautiful to look at right where we were.  I love all the colors and swirls in the rocks.
This stop on the loop was fascinating with the large boulders setting here on the ground.

It is an interesting place to visit because it was created at a time when Las Vegas was first incorporated. The purpose of this place was to quarry 10 ton blocks of sandstone. This was to become a building material.
The mine operated from 1905 to 1912 as the Excelsior Stone Quarry. The on-again, off-again operation employed as many as 15 men at one time.

The 10 ton blocks were cut so that they could be transported to Las Vegas using the 'Big Devil Wagon'. This frightful locomotive-like behemoth could haul 20 tons of cut stone on a single trip. The odd looking contraption also burned about 400 gallons of crude oil per day.

Unfortunately for the Excelsior company, the mine had to be abandoned due to the cost of using this machine. Probably also due to a lack of demand for weak sandstone
This is a picture taken close to the top of the 13 mile loop with my camera zoomed in as far as it would go.  You can see some of the big buildings of Vegas in the distance.
This picture is taken at the exact same spot with my camera at the normal range. I'm still learning and playing with my new camera I got for Christmas.  I'm not loving it yet.  (Kali dear, HELP your mother!)
After driving, sight seeing, and hopping in and out of the car we got to the the place where the lady at the visitor's center told us to hike.  I was excited to see a waterfall on this journey.  We took the Willow Springs Loop route and I was looking so forward to some cool water and a refreshing waterfall to look at and maybe cool off in.

HUH???? This little drip, drip, drip is what she called a waterfall??

I need to bring that lady back to Utah and show her a real waterfall!  We sat on this rock anyway and relaxed in the shade for a bit before heading back out into the sunshine.  (P.S. My sunburned legs were still suffering and I could feel the sun beating right through my pants on my calves. Yes, a little painful still.)
Coming out of the loop and heading back to the car. I like this kind of hiking when my muscles are still tender.
We found a picnic spot and Mark ate his lunch.  I had already eaten mine earlier since I was way too hungry from my morning run and I didn't want a hot chicken salad sandwich that was supposed to be eaten cold. Mark was safe since he had a peanut butter sandwich.
Still playing with my camera.
An interesting guide for hiking.
I never saw any tortoises on the road.  Sad day!  We saw lots of bikers and a couple joggers who I thought were a little crazy to be out running in this heat.
Good Bye Red Rock Canyon
After we got back I made some dinner and then Mark and I hid eggs all over Laurie's house.   We didn't have an opportunity at home to do any Easter activities so I brought the goodies to Vegas.  We would count the number of eggs hid in each room so Laurie wouldn't find random eggs months later in her house.  Mark and I hid those eggs pretty good and the boys did a good job finding them.  It's true there is no Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies and other goodies but they did get a handy dandy tie hanger that they both had mentioned a couple months ago they would like.
After the egg hunt and dinner it was time for heading downtown to see the fountains at the Bellagio.  No trip to Vegas is complete without seeing the dancing waters. We walked down to the M&M store and the Coke store and found the streets way too crowded for my liking.  It was a Monday night for Pete's Sake!
I was happy to be back to the car and on the way back to Laurie's for the night after a couple hours of chaos and crowds. You definitely see all kinds of people out in this big world.  Jordan stopped at Albertson's for some more goodies and drinks and then back to the house we went.  We pulled out the games and played Phase 10 and Masterpiece.  We didn't get to bed until about 3:00 am.  We had a blast just laughing and being together.  What an extremely long yet fun-filled day.  

Tuesday morning meant sleeping in until almost noon.  We relaxed and I read a book, the Aron Ralston story. I had checked it out of the library at home.  Remember the guy who got stuck in a canyon in Utah with a boulder pinning his arm? And after six days the only way he was getting out alive was to cut off his arm?  What an incredible story.

 Later in the day we went to Mandalay Bay and saw the Shark Reef Exhibit.  It was all very fascinating.  My very favorite were the jelly fish and getting to pet a sting ray.  The sharks were also pretty cool to watch.
We came back to the house and had dinner and relaxed some more.  The boys earlier in the day had gone to Best Buy with Laurie to get some electronic equipment she wanted.  They spent about 4 hours rewiring and trying to get all of her new stuff hooked up.  It ended up not working out and they eventually put everything back to its original place.  The great thing about it all was just watching my two big boys working together so well and having a common goal.  They then packed up and headed back home to Utah at midnight, so they could sleep in their own beds and have a full day of rest before they had to go back to work the next day.  Mark and I spent the night and got up and headed home Wednesday afternoon. 

Thank you so much Laurie for letting us come down and hang out with you!  You're the best!  


Doran & Jody said...

Oh how fun!
I wish we would have gone on that hike with you!!

Do you want to come up sometime and go on the Juniper Hike with us?