Vegas Workouts (2 of 2)

>> Monday, January 14, 2013

In my last post, I showed fun photos of Pharmie and I in Vegas, and I shared our "Vegas tips." (Lots of readers chimed in with their tips too!) In this post, I'll be showing photos from our 2 big outings.

I forgot one big piece of Vegas advice in my last post: ask your friends (IRL, FB, Twitter, etc) what's good to do! You probably know people who are into things that you're into, and they'll have some ideas. D.J. gave us a TON of advice on FB, and she's the one who recommended the Pinball Hall of Fame along with the 2 things we did below in this post. THANKS D.J.!!!

Sunday afternoon, we rented a car and drove west out of the city to Red Rock Canyon. Here was our first view after starting the 13-mile scenic drive through the park:

At the 2nd hiking trail.

For a sense of scale, can you see the 2 people on the white rock near the lower-left?

We drove through about half the park to get to a hike that was recommended by DJ. Here's Pharmie on the gravel road on the way to start the hike:

Pharmie wanted a photo of me and this hill behind me because
it reminded her of Red Lobster's cheesy-garlic biscuits.

Enjoying the views heading through a dry river bed.

Getting higher...

And higher...

And higher... Notice how close she is to that
mountain compared to the photo of her on gravel road at the start.

We technically took a wrong turn on this hike, so we ended up going much higher than the trail was labeled. Still a good hike! Then we turned around and headed down:

Notice we were walking into shadows. It was 4:30 pm, and it got chilly QUICKLY once the sun ducked behind the mountains. It went from around 50 to the mid-30s pretty quick (and the warmth from the sun was gone).

Hiking in the shade.

Back to the gravel road heading to the car.

I wore my Garmin (started it a bit late), and this is what it showed for our pace and elevation:

Ran a bit near the turn-around in the middle.

1,000 feet up, 1,000 feet down!

The next morning, we got up and drove to the other side of Vegas. We went south-east to Boulder City. We drove just a block past the Lake Mead Visitor Center (which we knew was closed for renovation), and we parked in a lot near the River Mountains Trail. As I noted in my last post, the final 4 miles of the 30+ River Mountains trail system is called the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail. It's a trail that was built in the 1930s so railcars could access the Hoover Dam construction site. In 1964 the rail lines were tore up, and it was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s. We hopped on the trail to head towards the Hoover Dam.

Starting the trail.

The rising sun's behind Pharmie.

When I turned around after taking that photo above, THIS was the view in the other direction:

400 feet above Lake Mead (and the marina).

Just ahead was the big draw of this trail system: the 5 tunnels carved through the mountain for the trains working on the construction of the Hoover Dam:

Tunnels #1 and #2.

Outside of Tunnel #1.

Oh, did I not mention that I wore my "Pinky and the Brain" shorts?!?

Well I DID! :)

Heading into Tunnel #1.

Tunnel #1.

Tunnel #3 in the distance.

The entire time, we had great views of Lake Mead down that steep hill to the left. It was beautiful in the morning light!

Tunnel #4.

Out of Tunnel #4 and heading to the fifth (and final) tunnel.

Tunnel #5 curved in the middle, so it was DARK as we ran into it.
It was the widest one in the middle because of the space the train cars needed to turn.

Coming through on the other side was the FIRST time we saw another human being! We had 2.5 miles of slow, picture-taking trail running before we saw anyone else. It was great! And this 60+ year old man with a hiking staff was the only person we saw on our way to the dam.

Now our views of Lake Mead were gone as we started heading down into the canyon between rocky hills. But we soon had a different view: BIG HORN SHEEP!

Starting to descend.

A short, steep little hill.

Down and down some more.

Soon the trail turned into paved sidewalks and twisted and turned through the rock:

Pharmie running down the back-and-forth ramps.

It spit us out on top of the Hoover Dam parking ramp. We made it!
(Notice all the steps behind Pharmie to the right.)

It was pretty flat through the 5 tunnels, then it was DOWNHILL!

We were there in time for the 1-hour tour at 9:30, but it was sold out. So we took the 30-minute tour at 10 because we couldn't stick around much longer. Here's Pharmie 55 stories below the top of the dam:

The 7 turbines on the Nevada side.

Back up top.

Me and the Pinky and the Brain shorts at Hoover!

We didn't have time to hike all the way up to Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge,
but THAT would have been a view!

Looking out over Lake Mead (the white line is where the
water level SHOULD be - they're in a 15-year drought).

It was time to get back to Vegas. We had 400+ feet to climb before we were back on the flat Railroad Tunnel Trail:

Back up all the stairs / ramps.

Our view of Lake Mead once we got back to the Railroad Tunnel Trail.

Pharmie heading back through Tunnel #4.

Tunnel #3.

Tunnels #2 and #1.

Nearly done. That's the edge of Boulder City to the right.

Pace graph on the way back from the dam. I left Pharmie shortly
after taking that last photo so I could get back to the car and stretch for a minute.

Pharmie heading towards me as I'm stretching by the car.

We got back to Vegas easily. The fitness center at The Bellagio actually had a foam roller! So once we got back, I loosened up the legs a bit:

My right foot as I rolled through my left IT band.

So check out my post from Saturday with some more Vegas trip photos and our "Vegas advice," and big thanks to D.J. for the good ideas of things to do in Vegas!


Beloved Green 12:20 PM, January 14, 2013  

The last time I was there was several years ago, the were just starting the bridge. Wow, it sure has come a long way! You guys did about the same trip I did when I visited my friend in Vegas, Red Rock and the Hoover Dam were our favorites.

TriMOEngr 12:10 PM, January 15, 2013  

When I was at Hoover in June 2009, the bypass bridge was about 25% constructed on each side, but the pieces hadn't met in the middle yet. I was almost as impressed with that as the dam. Now I want to go back to do the tunnel trail. So neat! Those steps didn't look fun though. Yikes. Thanks for sharing your great photos.

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