Eric’s trip to Las Vegas

Eric’s trip to Las Vegas

One might think that by flying in to Las Vegas we were going to stay amongst the bright lights and in some of the biggest hotels in the world, but not on this occasion. Las Vegas is the ideal gateway point to take in some of America’s best national parks and desert scenery.

Our flight arrived in Las Vegas late afternoon s, as opposed to driving straight off after a tiresome day travelling; we did overnight in Las Vegas.

After a good night’s sleep and a Denny’s breakfast, it was time to hit the road. Driving north, the sprawl of Las Vegas was soon left behind us and the rock of the desert surrounded us for a good hour. Climbing slowly the greenery began to appear and just two and half-hours after leaving Vegas we were at the entrance to Zion National Park.

The park has numerous walks and climbs with various levels of difficulty. A decision was made and the climb began to Hells Canyon.

Our route took us to the Weeping Rock, a vast porous rock face where the path terminates under a huge dripping cavernous rock formation. Onwards and upwards to another rock face only this time we had to walk round a narrow ledge on the rock face some 200 feet above the ground in order to access the canyon. There was a rail in places to cling on to but if you don’t have a head for nights then whatever you do, do not look down!

After a couple of nights in Zion, we moved on to Bryce Canyon which is only a short drive but the geography of the landscape is very different. Bryce is made up of hundreds of limestone spires, fins, arches and mazes collectively called hoodoos. Depending on the time of day, the sunshine results in an array of various colours as it glows on the rock formations.

Even at the height of the summer, we were surprised by the quietness of the roads as we drove onwards through Capitol Reef and on to Monument Valley.

This is real cowboy country although the land is actually an Indian reservation. Kayenta was our stopover point but if you enjoy a drink on a night then be prepared because none of the hotels sell alcohol current laws forbid, as this is still part of the Indian Reservation. The scenery in Monument Valley is quite spectacular and unique.

Flagstaff, Arizona was our next place to stay and this is an ideal base for visiting the Grand Canyon. Our visit to the Canyon was blessed with sunshine and temperatures in the high seventies. You cannot help but just stand on the rim of the Canyon and be totally in awe at the view that stretches out in front of you. A natural wonder of the world and rightly so.

With all the touring over it was now time to have several days relaxation and what better place than Stagecoach Trails Ranch in Arizona. When you leave the tarmac and drive for 11 miles on a dusty, sandy road you never think you are going to arrive but you do and you are welcomed in to the family to enjoy good old home cooking, lovely accommodation and horse riding across the desert. Because of the heat, you can only ride early morning or late afternoon but the experience is very detached from anything you have ever done before. The rides take you along dry riverbeds and desert scrubland and occasionally you may hear the rattle of the snake’s tail or see a Coyote. With very little artificial light, the desert sky is a remarkable sight and to sit out on a nighttime with the temperature gauge showing 76 degrees is just what the perfect holiday time is made of.

The ranch is only a two-hour drive back to Las Vegas but it could be a million miles away, such is the contrast. So many sights in just two weeks but it feels like two very enjoyable months!!