Sunday, October 25, 2009

Red Rock Canyon: Pine Creek

If you like to hike, this is the time of year to explore the desert around Las Vegas. These are the days of temperatures in the 80s, and the little patches of greenery around our springs and creeks (invasive species, I’m sure) are turning pretty colors because it’s fall. Until it turns hot again next summer, you can pretty much count on lots of very nice 60-70 degree weather until spring warms things up. At this time of year, the hiking in Red Rock is fabulous.

Two weeks ago, I went up to Pine Creek with a friend and my son. My friend had never been to Red Rock, despite living in Las Vegas for ten years, and I was happy to show her around. We hiked into the North Fork of Pine Creek, also known as Fern Canyon, the canyon the right side of the pointy mountain, Mescalito, in these pictures. I dropped down into the canyon too soon, before we got to the pools at the base of the cliffs, but we still had fun scrambling over the rocks and watching the rock climbers ascend the sandstone.

Pine Creek offers several hikes—you can do the Fire Ecology Trail, hike to the old Wilson Homestead, or hike up either fork of Pine Creek. There’s even a trail to the peak of Mescalito, but from the trail description I read, it’s quite a test of both physical fitness and trail-finding skills.
My pictures at Pine Creek.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

With the temperature cooling off here in Las Vegas, it's the perfect time to do some hiking in Red Rock. This afternoon I headed out to Sandstone Quarry with my son and mom-in-law. Since it was only about 80, we didn't have to scurry into the shade every time we stopped. I remembered a cave I'd found a couple of years ago, and a little diligent searching paid off--although I did get some heebie-jeebies being under the slabs of sandstone that had fallen and created the small cave.
My pictures from today's hike.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Living Under Las Vegas

Underneath the lavish casinos of Las Vegas, people are living in the city's flood channels. This shocking revelation first came to light two years ago in local author Matt O’Brien’s book, Beneath the Neon, and I’ve noticed a recent surge in stories on this topic. Las Vegas may be an amazing place for a vacation, but for the people who live here, social services are slim to non-existent (and as my dad would have said, “And Slim just left town.”) That lack of alternatives can lead people to desperate solutions. I can’t think of a more desperate solution to a housing problem than to be driven underground into a flood channel, but in the heat of summer, I imagine it’s certainly preferable to trying to brave the heat—until a flash flood hits. Now that Las Vegas’ unemployment rate is over 13%, I can’t help but wonder if more people will be driven underground, quite literally. If you've seen the recent stories and want to know more, read O’Brien’s book.