Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Vegas Part I

We spent a wonderful 9 days in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving holiday. Our adventures can be nicely broken up into two parts, although both parts have a lot of overlap. The first part includes the explorations with Mom and Dad Ausema while the second part includes explorations with Mom and Dad Weber. Susanna's parents live in the NW side of Las Vegas near lots of spectacular desert scenery. This is where Susanna and I stayed for the 9 days. My parents flew in to Las Vegas on Monday and stayed until Friday. They stayed on the 9th floor of a beautiful hotel called the Sun Coast. The Sun Coast also happens to be a casino...I found it very funny to drop off my parents at the casino each night! Here are some of the adventures that we packed into this short timeframe.

  • Sunset walk at Red Rock Canyon NCA (second picture above)

  • Explorations of the famous Las Vegas Strip, including walking around the Venetian Casino and Hotel...which is like taking a step into Italy!

  • Drive, picnic and hike along the north shore of Lake Mead NRA (top photo)...this included seeing a couple of desert bighorn sheep

  • Explorations of Valley of Fire State Park...a park as spectacular as the name suggests!

  • A huge adventurous day at Death Valley National Park

  • Thanksgiving morning back at Red Rock Canyon NCA (I'll include this in Park II)

The Venetian...like being in Italy

Glitz and glamor along the Las Vegas Strip

Desert Bighorn in Lake Mead NRA

Susanna exploring the red rocks of Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

Sunset at Valley of Fire State Park

Desolate landscape in Death Valley NP

Appropriately named Golden Canyon in Death Valley NP

Wild and rugged interior of Death Valley

Mom and Dad at the lowest place in the U.S.

Thanksgiving in Vegas - Part II

The second part of our Las Vegas vacation involved explorations with the Weber parents. Once again, some of this has overlapped with explorations with the Ausema parents. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Thanksgiving morning exploration of Red Rock Canyon NCA (picture above) which included seeing a ringtail cat and a wild burro.

  • Afternoon Thanksgiving feast with 13 people at Susanna's parents' cozy home.

  • Climb of Lone Mountain, a rocky, rugged peak right next to Vegas.

  • An awesome hike into the steep, cool walls of Pine Creek Canyon.

  • Swimming in the community pool and playing mini golf

Red Rock Canyon

The start of the Lone Mountain Climb

Standing on top of Lone Mountain

The start of the Pine Creek Canyon hike

Pine Creek Canyon

Hiking out of Pine Creek Canyon