Sleepless in Las Vegas

Seldom am I so amazed that I am speechless or at a loss for words…

After visiting twenty-nine U.S. National Parks, four Canadian National Parks, a dozen National Monuments, numerous State and Provincial Parks, and driving thousands of miles of scenic byways over the past twenty-nine weeks,

captured on:

Leah and I have yet to discover a place that is so captivating that we didn’t want to leave…until now.

Rainbow Trail panorama (2)
Leah and me

Valley of Fire State Park allowed us the chance to finally exhale, after America held its collective breath trying to make sense of yet another senseless killing spree, when a maniacal sniper opened fire on a crowd of 20,000 innocents a ¼-mile away.

We were 4½ miles out of harm’s way, staying at an RV resort off I-15 at the time, and wondered about the incessant sirens screaming past our open windows after 10 pm that fateful evening..

“I can’t believe how much crime they have here,” Leah exclaimed.

“Wouldn’t want to live here,” I offered.

Switching on the TV, all stations were locked on breaking news of an active shooter at the strip, but details were sketchy with the story developing by the minute. We quickly realized that we were listening to the soundtrack of a massacre: SWAT teams, police, EMT, and ambulances were sprinting past our Airstream–in and out of the danger zone.

Originally, we booked a couple of days in Vegas to decompress, and intended on exploring the strip in search of available show tickets once the Airstream was unhitched. But the prospects of casino crawling quickly faded after an afternoon of relaxation by the pool. Then again, we figured there would always be tomorrow.

Yet by morning, as the tragedy at Mandalay Bay unfolded, the thought of unthinkable loss left us gasping for air.

Leah summed it up: “It doesn’t feel right having fun when we’re surrounded by so much pain and suffering.”

We needed a getaway. We took off for Red Rock Canyon to escape the inhumanity, and clear our heads.

Callico 1

Keystone Notch Trail

Red Rock Canyon panorama

It was a small dose of nature for the day, and helped to heal our heavy hearts.

The following day, we moved our Airstream fifty miles east, to the Valley of Fire, where we found the perfect antidote to murder and madness. We found a place where we could breathe,

rainbow road (4)

and the only sound at night was silence.

The park has an abundance of features and formations.

Beehive2
Beehives
Arch Rock1
Arch Rock
Elephant Rock
Elephant Rock
Silica Rock
Silica Dome
Atlatl Rock
Atlatl Rock
Mouse's Tank
Mouse’s Tank

But the hiking trails off White Domes Road offer the biggest reward.

Rainbow Vista  gave us an opportunity to scramble over rocks with more colors than a box of Crayolas.

Roadside formations1 (2)

Roadside formations2 (2)

Roadside formations3 (2)

Roadside formations4 (2)

Roadside formations5 (2)

Roadside formations6

A loop through the deep red sands of White Domes transported us to the 23rd century set of Star Trek: Generations.

monolith (2)

White Dome Trail2

slot canyon2

Slot canyon4

canyon opening

keyhole (2)

A stroll through Fire Canyon during late afternoon gave us the impression that each rock radiated from within.

Fire Canyon (2)

rock foot

Magic light

Fire Canyon Arch

sundown

But I was unprepared for the exhilaration I felt after reaching the Fire Wave.

FW8

FW7

FW3

FW1

FW9

FW2

FW6

FW5 (2)

I’ve adopted Valley of Fire as my Muse. Even now, when I close my eyes, I believe I’m  living in Candyland–a magical world where the cliffs look like candy, and all the residents of the world are tolerant of each other. 

This post represents a milestone of sorts, as its #100 in my series of posts for Streaming Thru America–a blog intended to showcase and celebrate the diversity of beauty throughout the country. I dedicate #100 to all the victims, and their families, and I salute the first responders, the good Samaritans, and the medical personnel, who continue to fight for the living.

16 thoughts on “Sleepless in Las Vegas

  1. Growing up and living the Midwest my whole life, it almost seems hard to believe that this breathtakingly beautiful scenery is in the same country I am! This is gorgeous photography – I have said for years that I would love to to exactly what you are doing, so I love reading your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neal, a beautiful tribute to such sadness! I hope this reaches some of the victims and they can see the beauty of our country and draw some peace from it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandy, being in Vegas was like biting into a chocolate bar and realizing it was Baker’s chocolate…the occasion was so bittersweet. If one person can find solace in the post, then the trip has been worthwhile. I think that all of us deserve some beauty in our lives. Maybe then, there would be less hatred in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We usually go to local festivals on our travels and I am so thankful we didn’t know there was a music festival in Vegas when we arrived. It was a very sad evening. We have been fortunate to skirt hurricanes, tornadoes, many wildfires and now this. Hoping for only continued good fortune to come in our future! And for the people who have been terribly affected by so much tragedy, I hope healing will come in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this blog. I am a huge airstream fan- it’s my next purchase. I also had a family member and friend at tha concert. I am blessed that they survived, but we are all hurting and deeply saddened. Thank you for your consideration. I also know that you travel all around the west. You are part of Las Vegas 🙂

    Like

  5. Ashley, it’s hard to imagine not being affected by something so horrific, wherever your from. I don’t know why these things happen; I only know that we must get better at being better.
    Albeit premature, welcome to the Airstream family. Any questions?, I’m happy to answer. Thank you for following.

    Like

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