February 11-12, 2010
I am not one to burrow myself inside a casino during the daytime, and I can only endure so much traffic and solicitors along the Strip. With the February weather in Vegas sunny and in the 70's, I set off into the outdoors of Las Vegas. Yes, there are outdoors to enjoy in the Vegas area that are not made by the hand of man.
I chose three contrasting spots for my Vegas outdoor adventures. One well-known with a Federal designation to recognize its significance. One shown as a small red square on my road atlas with no clues of its worth. One at the end of a long road next to a long waterway.
|Mount Wilson in Red Rock NCA|
Most road atlases mark attractions with a small red square, but no two squares are alike. The characteristics of a red square and the attraction it denotes can vary substantially:
- The attraction can be immense in size like Yosemite Falls or small like a hand-dug well in Kansas;
- It can be managed by the National Park Service or provided by a small business-owner;
- Access to the red square can be easy if it is next to an interstate freeway ramp or almost impossible if only the roughest of dirt roads go there; and
- The title of the square can tell you all about the attraction (George Washington Birthplace) or leave you with a mystery as to whether it is worthy of visitation (John E. Williams Memorial Preserve).
|Entrance to Keyhole Canyon|
|Pictographs of Keyhole Canyon|
Keyhole Canyon is a box canyon with a narrow opening into the western flank of the Eldorado Mountains. The canyon is not wide nor deep and did not even have any water when I visited, but it was eye-opening as I walked pass the entrance rocks. The canyon floor opens up to a chamber that secludes you from the valley outside and offers shade from the hot Nevada sun. After it rains you can imagine a small waterfall dropping from a ledge and filling a small basin at its foot. It is not hard to see nomadic Indians dwelling in this canyon when water was plentiful or screening from the hot summer sun was needed. These nomads left a lasting impression of the importance of this Native American archaeological site with the many petroglyphs and pictographs marking the walls of the canyon.
|Nelsons Landing on Lake Mohave of the Colorado River|