So I just got back from Las Vegas. I know- if you’re following closely, that’s Pennsylvania to Virginia to Tennessee to Mexico to Tennessee to Virginia to Nevada. All since January! (Technically I guess I was already in Virginia by January 1, but let’s go with it, ok?)
Quite a life for an engineering student.
This trip had a specific purpose though. My school has been selected to host one of three ASME E-fests in the world this April, and one of the other two was taking place at UNLV, so I, along with another student and two incredible administrators from the Mechanical Engineering department, went on a benchmarking trip.
How did we make this happen? Well, I googled “best day hikes near Las Vegas” and did a lot of reading. And then I googled “how much is an uber to red rocks canyon Nevada”. And then I asked a bunch of Lyft drivers how much it would cost, checked the Lyft app, tried to compare it to the cost of renting a car (but the hotel Enterprise was completely sold out, so we scrapped that), and then googled “Best red rocks trails” and did a lot of reading.
It sounds like a lot of work, but all in all it wasn’t much more than what I would have done for a weekend section, I guess. Being completely unfamiliar with the area made it a little more difficult.
We decided on Calico Tanks, a trail rated “moderate.” That was a solid choice, as it turns out. Lots of rock scrambles!
The trail was utterly foreign. As Josh and I set off, we remarked on how different it felt from the trails back home. Josh doesn’t hike the AT like I do, but he’s spent some time in the Smokies and like most Tennesseans, he’s spent a lot of time in the woods- walking between trees and creek hopping, wandering for the sake of wandering. It is, I think, what draws most of us together in the engineering department. We may not all be athletic (though some are), and we may not all be hunters (though some are), and we may not all consider ourselves outdoorsy (though some are), but we all appreciate time outside for no other purpose than time outside, it seems.
Anyways, the day was warm, with a bright sun and a vividly blue sky that drew all moisture from your skin. The “dry heat” thing is true. Where the heat in the South will settle on you, a warm, heavy blanket; out west it’s light and pulls your breath out of you. No matter though. We took the time to drink water and appreciate the sights.
The trail was an out and back, and once we’d done our out and back, we followed calico 1 and 2 down to the visitor center (closes at 4:30) and then to the gate to wait for our ride. Once night fell, the heat of the sun was gone. It disappeared from the asphalt even. It was chilly, and there weren’t many stars to watch.
LVP: some dude with a drone