Don't let any Las Vegas inhabitant try to convince you that "it's just a dry heat, so it's not that bad." It is a freakin' desert! There is a reason why nothing grows there. It is the same reason why humans were never meant to live there. Like it or not, that is where my nephews live and so it is where I spent the 4th of July weekend in 110+ degree weather. Christa, Cynthia, Marek, Colin and Dad were all there.
The highlight of the visit was our day trip out to Zion National Park in southern Utah. The drive from Henderson to the park entrance was just under 3 hours, and there was very little traffic. My goal for the day was to hike up to Angels Landing in order to take in the scenic overviews of the canyon floor. The hike is only 2.5 miles each way, but the final mile or so leaves you completely exposed to the sun and scrambling over rocks for the last 500 feet of vertical ascent. Although chains are provided to help you pull yourself up the steeper rock walls, it was more strenuous than I expected it to be. Definitely not for anyone afraid of heights or unable to lift their own body weight.
But when you reach the top, you suddenly realize that it was worth the effort. The skies were mostly clear and a vivid blue. When contrasted against the red clay and sandstone cliff walls, the effect is stunning:
There were a few people there when I arrived just before noon:
The hike back down wasn't actually that much easier. Scrambling back down the top 500 feet was just as difficult in the reverse direction, and much harder on my aging knees. If you're ever in Vegas and have grown tired of the strip, this is definitely worth the visit. The views are awe inspiring. You can see more here: