Category Archives: Hike! Las Vegas

Mary Jane Falls- Mount Charleston, NV

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This hike almost lead to my COMPLETE undoing…I’ll explain after all the initial STUFF.

Directions and such here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/htnf/recreation/recarea/?recid=65574&actid=50

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The Low Down:

3.5 Miles roundtrip- Strenuous as fuck.

Wear layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring and summer. I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches.

Hiking Boots would be best. Loose rocks and snow.

Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat (a warm one in the winter) are a good idea.

Cell Service? Ha!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Indulge in a snack when you get to your destination.

Only Kid that LISTEN WELL can do this trail.

THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. PACK IT OUT!

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The Adventure:
I almost hung up my hiking boots after this one. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this hike but the arthritis in my knees has held me back a bit when it comes to longer trails and switchbacks. I also forgot about ALTITUDE and Elevation (7000+ feet). In the first 1.6 miles, you climb 1100 ft. I had to sit down every 1/4 mile because I couldn’t catch my breath. When I made it to the bottom of the switchbacks, I almost turned around and headed back- but I didn’t because I’M A BIG, BRAVE DOG!

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As I head up the switchbacks, I meet various folks along the way and a LOT of dog friends too! I FINALLY make it ALMOST to the top and I cop a rock. This skinny, trophy wife comes hiking by (with her 100 year old husband) in her Nike Running Shoes- HOLDING HER GUCCI PURSE- and asks ME if I’m alright?! Ummm…I think your HUSBAND needs a respirator, Hun. No offense to SKINNY, TROPHY WIVES but…it’s my blog so deal with it. Anyway-
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The View from the Top

Finally made it to the top. Had a snack and hung out for a little while…
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The Falls- Frozen and Not.

The Wrap-up
So here’s the COMPLETE UNDOING part…
I can’t find boots that fit me correctly. I never could. When I go downhill, not only do my knees kill but my toes SMASH against the boots. The pain is excruciating but I grin and bear it because I LOVE to hike. It took me next to FOREVER to get OFF the switchbacks and it was completely downhill to get from there to the car. I practically crawled. I called myself EVERY name in the book because I couldn’t walk like a normal, skinny young, healthy PERSON. I was NOT a Big Brave DOG!

The car came into view and I couldn’t get to it fast enough. I. Was. Done.
“I will NEVER hike again. I’m such a joke. I could never GO with anyone because they would think I was OLD and fat and incapable…”
Then I stopped and realized that I MADE it off that mountain ALL BY MYSELF. No rescue helicopter. No Hot Rangers searching the Pines (bummer that though). No cadaver dogs looking for my body. Slowly, carefully- I achieved what I set out to do- I hiked Mary Jane Falls. AND I took some GREAT SHOTS! AND I got to PLAY IN THE SNOW!
AND…I forgave myself for not being 25 years old and a Triathlete.
Will I do this again? Maybe.
It was such a beautiful place to see and I DID enjoy myself (even though I verbally abused myself for 1.6 miles!)

Just a note:
When I stopped to rest, a little model landed for an impromptu photo shoot.
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Desert Wildlife Refuge aka Corn Creek- Las Vegas, NV

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Yes- I took this shot and I think it’s one of the best photos I’ve ever taken in my entire life!

Official Website: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/desert/
Directions can be found here too.

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The Low Down:

Slightly over a mile if you do all the little trails (roundtrip)

Wear desert appropriate clothing (Layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring) I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches and rock rash.

Hiking Boots or really good sneakers will work. It’s a dirt trail so VERY muddy after a rain!

Not really wheelchair friendly unless you have off road tires on it.

Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat are a good idea.

Cell Service? It’s in and out. I had WiFi too in some places!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Indulge in a snack when you get to your destination.

VERY kid friendly BUT Bird Watchers will get angry if you’re loud or even exist!

THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS except in the picnic area. PACK IT OUT!

The visitors center was closed. Sorry- no review!

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The Adventure:
I visited the day after a GLORIOUS rainstorm! It was SO quiet except for the backloader (beeping- beeping- backing up) working on the grounds which was a bit annoying but what can ya do, right?

There are a few small hills but nothing too challenging- besides the mud (but I LOVE getting dirty so it was fine! Ha!). My walk was VERY pleasant and I was able to venture around the trails several times. Twice for exercise and then again to take in the scenery. It’s ABSOLUTELY beautiful here but I bet it’s VICIOUS in the summer! My instinct says avoid coming here in the summer unless it’s like- 6am and you’re gone by like- 8am or you’ll fry!

A great story about the original family that settled Corn Creek is posted near their homestead. Some of the family still lives on the land too! I would LOVE to live out there- so peaceful!

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After doing the initial “exercise” part of the hike I hung around the creek and listened to the water trickling down the little waterfall.

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Spent a lot of time just messin’ around. Sucking in the FRESH AIR, listening to the birds and watching the leaves drift down the creek like little escapee sailboats. I took the time out to BREATHE and just BE. You should too 😉

FYI:
A little beyond the turn-off to the Refuge are roads leading to TONS of trails! Problem: I have a sedan that is very low to the ground and the roads are unpaved. TIME TO BUY A JEEP! LOL! Sorry- off subject here…

The Wrap-Up:
Freakin’ fell IN LOVE with this place! Wish it was closer to my house but it’s SO worth the drive- in the Winter and the Spring and the cooler part of Fall but definitely NOT SUMMER!

Calico Tanks- Red Rock Canyon- Las Vegas NV

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I do A LOT of research before I hike a trail. May not have mentioned this in any of my posts but I wear corrective knee braces for Osteoarthritis which has turned one knee in and one knee out. UGH…anyway…

My research is an evaluation of the trail. Can I hike it safely by myself WITH knee braces? Will animals and/or Velociraptors try to chase and eat me? Rock scrambling (class 1 or 2- no 3!)? Shade or no shade? Destination (like- is there something cool at the end)?

There is a LOT of information about this trail online but the difficulty is pretty much up in the air. I read everything from- “an easy out and back- my 6 year old did it easily” to ” Strenuous” to “Difficult in spots but otherwise an easy hike.” So basically- I had to assess the situation myself.

ASSESSMENT: If you have a crippling fear of heights (like moi), short legs and wear knee braces- this MAY not be the hike for you. Class 2 Rock Scramble.
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Description: Taken from redrockla.org- This scurry over jumbled sandstone leads to a hidden water pocket and a great view of Las Vegas. Calico Tanks is a great trip for families or those wanting a relatively short introduction to Red Rock Canyon, because this hike combines elements of the prehistory, history, geology, beauty, and fun that makes Red Rock famous.
The Low Down:

2.5 Miles roundtrip

Wear desert appropriate clothing (Layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring) I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches and rock rash.

Hiking Boots or really good sneakers will work. Loose rocks galore!

Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat are a good idea.

Cell Service? It’s in and out. I had WiFi too in some places!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Indulge in a snack when you get to your destination.

Only Kid that LISTEN WELL can do this trail.

THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. PACK IT OUT!

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The information on how they cut the sandstone in the Quarry was really interesting.

My Adventure:
I did this hike on an overcast day- which made it very pleasant. It was an easy walk until you arrived at BOULDER CITY (I mean real boulders, not the actual city). All I have to say about the rock scrambling is that it’s a good thing I’ve been working out my upper body for the past year or my fat-ass would still be stuck in the crevasse that I fell into when I slipped off the boulder. Luckily, no cuts or bruises just rock rash on my butt (sorry, no pics- this is a family website. Ha!)
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Got about .70 miles in and turned around when I saw how steep it was and high I was about to go. No thanks…My footing was already questionable at that point. I sat for a bit and contemplated whether or not to push myself and continue but I surrendered to defeat (and my paralyzing fear of heights) and started back. On the Brightside- It was GORGEOUS!

Photos below:
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My Cairn
My Cairn

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Here I am just in case you forgot what I look like.  48 lbs  thinner since April 2015.
Here I am just in case you forgot what I look like. 48 lbs thinner since April 2015.

3 Easy Red Rock Canyon Hikes

I’ve been so lazy…
Not hiking wise, posting wise.

I’ve combined 3 hikes on one page because I have pictures from all of them but I don’t remember which are which- so I’m gonna wing it here.

The Low Down for ALL the HIKES:

Wear desert appropriate clothing (Layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring) I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches from the shrubbery.

Hiking Boots or really good sneakers will work. Loose rocks galore!

Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat are a good idea.
BUG SPRAY may be necessary in the warmer months.

Cell Service? It’s in and out. I had WiFi too in some places!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Indulge in a snack when you get to your destination. Red Rock has some great places to plant yourself and take in the scenery!

Very Kid Friendly- especially if they listen well.

THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. PACK IT OUT!

Moenkopi Loop- 2 miles There is some elevation and no wheelchair access.
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Here’s what redrocklv.org says about this trail…
Triassic fossils and various desert flora can be seen on this open country trail which starts at the visitor center and traverses a prominent limestone ridge. In addition to panoramic views of the Wilson Cliffs, there are connecting trails to the Calico Hills area (2 mile loop, easy).

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My Notes:
This is a very nice OUT and BACK. You are surrounded by the beauty of Red Rock without having to rock scramble over boulders and such. There are signs at the beginning explaining the Flora and Fauna of the landscape which I’ve always found quite enjoyable. The most memorable thing about this hike for me is that I almost poked my eye out with my walking stick- such a klutz!

Willow Springs Loop– 1.5 Miles- VERY EASY- Wheelchair Access (only for .10 of a mile)
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Info from redrocklv.org: From the parking lot follow the trail by the restroom south. This takes you past a pictograph site and Agave roasting pits, to the Lost Creek parking lot. There the trail heads to the right to where the two trails fork. . Bear to the right and continue to the Willow Springs parking lot. Part of this trail is paved and is readily accessible from the parking lot
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My Take on it:
GREAT for a BEGINNER!
Love the history lesson on this very short OUT and BACK! Agave Pits and Pictographs..
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Picnic tables abound so you can indulge in a meal after your hike and let the kids run around for a bit. It’s not the most fantastic hike in the park but it’s good exercise!


Oak Creek Canyon-
2 Miles- Not THAT easy, kind of MODERATE- No Wheelchair Access- NOT GOOD FOR BEGINNERS or the CLUMSY

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What redrocklv.org says: Oak Creek Canyon is one of several beautiful canyons cutting into the Red Rock escarpment. It receives fewer visitors than other canyons in the area, and the hike has two distinct personalities: The beginning approach across open desert offers sweeping views of the Red Rock escarpment and the freedom of open desert, and the canyon itself offers challenging hiking over jumbled boulders and steep slopes.

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My Take: Trail is VERY rocky so if you have a tendency to trip over your own feet (like Moi), you need to be VERY careful. It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL- especially when you get down to the creek. Make sure you mark where you came down because it’s hard finding the trail back. I laid out on a rock like a lizard for a good hour and listened to NOTHING but the wind rustling the leaves in the trees. Watched the butterflies dance above the creek and saw an Osprey flying in and out of a small cave on top of the mountain. Nature at it’s best!

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Scrambled over a few boulders and then slipped and tumbled onto the sand! MEDIC! Good thing it WAS sand or I would have been climbing out of my oasis with a broken arm for sure! Remember to tuck and roll if you can, Kids. Some cuts and bruises and a popped out knee (which I popped back in) later- I limped back to the trailhead as it was turning about 90 degrees. I don’t do well in the heat so when I saw my car I was elated!

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Historic St Thomas Loop Trail- Lake Mead NRA

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In 1938, the Government basically bought out the 75 residents left in the town of St Thomas, opened the Hoover Dam Flood Gates and BAM! Sunk the town…

50+ years later, BAM! Drought.
Receding waters revealed an eerily beautiful landscape like nothing you’ve ever seen.

If you’d like to read about the history of the town written by an actual journalist, please go here:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/features/finding-nevada/2013/sep/15/st-thomas-high-and-dry-ghost-town/

The Low Down:

2.5 miles with a hill (that won’t kill you) at the end

There is NO shade. I wouldn’t do this in the Summer. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Wear desert appropriate clothing (Layers in the winter, sun protection in the spring) I would suggest that you wear pants to avoid scratches from the shrubbery.

Hiking Boots or really good sneakers will work. Loose rocks galore!

Sun Block is a must no matter what time of year. Sunglasses and a hat are a good idea.
BUG SPRAY may be necessary in the warmer months.

Cell Service? Yes! I had WiFi too!

WATER, WATER, WATER

Indulge in a snack by one of the ruins. The view is weirdly soothing.

Very Kid Friendly- especially if they listen well.

THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. PACK IT OUT!

There is a restroom at the trail head, BYO Toilet Paper (I always do).

Directions:

Trailhead: St. Thomas is located 76 miles NE of Las Vegas. Take I-15 North 48 miles to Logandale-Overton exit (Nevada Route 169). Turn South and travel 29 miles to Valley of Fire Road (the State Park enters to your right) — do NOT turn towards Valley of Fire State Park. Instead, turn on the dirt road entering SR 169 on the opposite side of Valley of Fire. Follow the dirt road to it’s end. Take it easy…

The Lowdown
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You start at the top and work your way down, Kids. Reminds me of some people I know who work in Hollywood! Anyway…

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Follow this sweet but rocky and Burro Poop filled path down, down, down to the bowels of Lake Mead.

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I would like you to stop for a second and recognize the fact that where I am standing was probably under 60 feet of water at one time. Do you see all the random, white specs on the ground? Those are shells, I swear!
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See! I told you!
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Follow the Trail Markers and then pick up the little “Riverbed” trail. That will take you through the town. These pictures are actually showing you what it looks like on the way back. You’re smart, you get the idea..

…and now for Your Photo Tour

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All good things must come to an end…

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The end…

The Wrap-Up
As I have said many time- I LOVE a destination hike. The ruins are amazing! It’s trippy to see buildings buried up to their 2nd stories by remnants of the lake bed floor. Truly a wonderful place to explore!

Walk along the “Riverbed” and pass the school. Stop for a moment and listen to the wind…you can practically hear the children voices riding the breeze.

…and now for something completely ARTSY
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Valley of Fire State Park Overton, NV- Atlatl Rock

Bird and Hike does a nice little blurb about this section of the park AND gives directions too!
http://www.birdandhike.com/Glyphs/VOF/Atlatl/_Atlatl.htm

Atlatl Rock
Hike Time: A leisurely climb up some stairs and a short walk around a fantastic rock formation.
Distance: There really is no distance. It’s more of a stretch your legs kind of walk.
Elevation Difference: 84 Stairs
Fitness Factor: Run up and down the stairs a million times and you’ll get some cardio done!
Walking around in the sand WILL get your heart rate rockin’ and rollin’.
Difficulty: Easy-ish- if you can do stairs.
No Handicap Access on this trail.
Dogs on leashes
Kid Friendly
No Cell
Bring: LOTS of water (and I’m NOT kidding), a snack to enjoy in the picnic area or on a rock somewhere. Dress for the weather! Wear SUNSCREEN!

Our Adventure:
I visited V of F twice this past December and had 2 Fantastic Co-Hosts with me at 2 separate times!

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Co-Host #1: My Dad and the Great-Grandpa of “The Boy” below

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Co-Host #2: My Grandson and Partner in Crime, Mr. Caiden aka “The Boy”

I am NOT a fan of stairs. If you have paid attention to ANY of my other posts- you’d know that is an ABSOLUTE FACT. I WILL cuss them out when I see them and write about it AND I will use the F word- many times- to describe them. Nope- not a fan.

I chose to climb these stairs. Why? Because there’s ART up there you HEATHENS- that’s why!!!
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We’ll get back to the art in a second…check out Co-Host #1. My Dad is 83 and made it 1/2 way up the stairs. Nice Job! If you’re wondering about Co-Host #2…Caiden made it up the stairs but was totally freaked out because it was windy up there so he bailed- that’s why he’s making a weird face in the picture above.
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Great View from the TOP

ANCIENT ART shown in the best way possible:
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SOAK IT IN…absorb some culture… and then check out these cool rock formations!
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Caiden and I explored for a bit. He found a huge dune and decided that it was a good idea to climb up it and then attempt to ski down it.

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He then found that it was necessary to declare himself “King of the World” from the TOP of this Giant Boulder…

The Wrap-Up:
This is a fun spot to play around in for awhile and this post was a terrific way to introduce my Dad to all who read my blog. I encourage EVERYONE- no matter your age or shape- to get out there and get MOVING. When visiting V of F get out of the car and walk a little if you can. Hop off your Motorcycle for a minute and partake in a short hike. Grab some nature by the TOOKUS!

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Let’s end this post with one more picture of my Dad. Isn’t he the cutest?!

Valley of Fire Overton, NV- White Domes

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My Hiking Partner- Caiden- is now 5!

A little info on Valley of Fire: http://www.valley-of-fire.com/

White Domes Trail
Hike Time: 30 minutes if you’re FIT/ 60 if you’re FAT
Distance: 1.25 miles round trip
Elevation Difference: 200 feet
Difficulty: Easy-ish (except for the ROCK STAIRS!)
No Handicap Access on this trail.
Dogs on leashes
Kid Friendly
No Cell
Bring: LOTS of water (and I’m NOT kidding), a snack to enjoy in the picnic area or on a rock somewhere. Dress for the weather! Wear SUNSCREEN!

Directions to the Trailhead: From the west entrance of Valley of Fire, drive 3.7 miles along the main park road. Turn left when you see signs for the Visitor’s Center, Mouse’s Tank, Rainbow Vista, and White Domes. Pass the Visitor’s Center (on your right) and go 6 miles to the White Domes parking lot.

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Our Adventure:
About 2 years ago, I visited this trail and really wanted to hike it. It was at the beginning of my unfortunate bout with anemia and I had also gained some weight as well. I walked up the sandy hill- and I was done.
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This trail was like a thorn in my side. I had never given up on ANY trail so this one kind of haunted me for awhile. I DID figure out that sand is NOT my friend and saw that running along side the sandy climb towards the trailhead is an outcrop of flat rocks which you can walk on- ALL THE WAY UP. Thank you very much- don’t mind if I do!
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My Co-Host, Mr. Caiden decided to take the sandy hill approach…hike5
These VERY STEEP stairs lead down to the (again) sandy (but not too sandy) trail…
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…and on to the Movie Set from “The Professionals.” I LOVE a destination hike and we were barely hiking for 10 minutes before we reached something cool!
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Around the bend we go…
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YAY! A SLOT CANYON! I LOVE THOSE!
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annnnd…we’re out! Up a rocky hill we climb. Man, it was SO windy and cold- I LOVED it! It started to level out a bit-
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Then a bit more…
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Before we knew it, we were at the end of the road…
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Caiden goes, “Grandma! That rock looks like a BUTT! We should call it BUTT ROCK! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”
This kid has MY sense of humor…poor thing.
Anyway-
Walk past BUTT ROCK and you’ll find some stairs that lead out to the road. Walk up to the parking lot and VOILA- Done!
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The Wrap Up:
My Co-Host and I had a terrific time. Yes, it took longer than we planned but who really puts time limits on exploring nature?