Category Archives: Walking/Hiking/Kayaking – Other Cities

Duck Creek – Dixie National Forest- Cedar City/Duck Creek Village, Utah

Click for more information on activities at Duck Creek:
http://www.duckcreekvillage.com/area-activities.htm

I had EVERY intention to start my BIRTHDAY VACATION by driving straight to the Dixie National Forest and hop on to The Cascade Falls Trail. I NEEDED to do that hike! Here’s what I found when I got into the mountains: snow1

HIKE CANCELLED…
Not to make it a total loss, I took the scenic drive and discovered…
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Duck Creek

The Adventure:
I jumped out of the car, put my waterproof hikers on and headed right into that snow!
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Taking a path that some of the fisherman around the creek carved into the cold and muddy trail, I walk slowly around the area and breathed in the frozen air.
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Heading towards the bridge, I joined up with the ATV trail and carefully walk along the edge. I sure didn’t want to get run over by a snow machine!
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Coming back around, I discovered a sparkling creek!
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That’s when I spied my first EAGLE in his natural habitat. Magic! Watch the video here:

It’s been a million years since I made a snow man so…
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…and I couldn’t resist getting a little artsy with my camera.
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Such a GOOD DAY!

Miles/Time:
I have no idea mileage wise but I walked around for a good 2 hours.

What you need:
The usual- water, sun screen, sun glasses, (winter) hat, gloves, waterproof boots, energy snack and a camera.

A good trip for all ages. No wheelchair access in the winter, I doubt there is in the other seasons.

No Cell Service

Check the rules about dogs in the Dixie National Forest.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park- Kanab, Utah

For more information and directions:
Click here> http://stateparks.utah.gov/park/coral-pink-sand-dunes-state-park

Smack in the middle of Kanab, Utah is “The Surface of Mars.”
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The Low Down:

Amazingly soft, pink dunes that you can hike up and down on for HOURS

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 took off my shoes and ran up and down the dunes in my socks. I would have taken off my socks too- but it was a bit too chilly!

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

Cell Service? Nope.

Bring WATER, WATER, WATER

Very Kid Friendly- bring a sled to slide down the dunes. I heard you can rent one from the Park Ranger too.

I never made it to the main entrance to the park and I know there is an $8 fee. I did run into the Park Ranger (who FYI was really good looking) and he never asked me for the fee so I’m thinking that where I parked was “Fee Free” but- don’t hold me to that…

My Adventure:
This is an AWESOME looking ATV park. I was there in February 2015, early morning on a Tuesday. All Alone! I bet it’s insanely crazy in the warmer months and loaded with all kinds of vehicles sliding down the dunes at a million miles an hour! If you have an ATV click on the info above for details about riding out here.

I found a turn out about half way to the main entrance, so I parked there and read the informational sign that tells the story of how the Dunes were formed. Very edu-ma-cational!
Hiking up the first dune I saw…
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I ended up looking down on this wondrous sight…
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A SEA of red- glittering in the morning sun…
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I slid off my sneakers and started to walk. I was wishing that my little Co-Host (Caiden) was with me. We would have had fun following the animal tracks…
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A half hour later, I was pooped! I sat on top of the dunes and enjoyed the sunshine whilst I listened to the wind. BTW- It was my BIRTHDAY and I wouldn’t have picked any other way to celebrate. ūüôā
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The silence was shattered by a group of extremely loud Fundies (FLDS- you know, Mega Mormans).
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It’s all fun and games until the Fundies show up. Don’t let them fool you. Fundie teenagers are just as loud as mainstream teenagers- maybe even louder because they don’t get out much!

That was my QUE to leave.

The Wrap Up
Grab the kids and take a ride out to this AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS pile of sand in the middle of no where. Nothing is really open in Kanab off session (winter) so I wouldn’t bother taking a trip into town unless you need something. Zion and Bryce Canyon are nearby as well. Make a LONG day of it- get your nature on!

The Riverwalk Exploration Trail- Laughlin, NV

Not a bad way to start out a hike/walk!
Not a bad way to start out a hike/walk!

Directions from The Riverside Hotel and Casino:
Walk out the North Tower, cross the street and make a right so when you’re walking down the street, the visitors center in on your left. Look for THIS in the distance…
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When you see this bridge, head towards it.
When you get HERE:
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Continue walking across…
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…and once you’re out, you’ll be here:
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Which is the start of the paved trail…got it?

Here's something pretty to keep your attention
Here’s something pretty to keep your attention

Details:

Distance: Officially 4 miles round-trip (Plus 1 mile RT from the hotel and back) so 5 miles

Difficultly: Easy

Wheelchair Friendly? Yes and no. Mostly yes but there is some gravel and rocks- so be careful.

Dog Friendly? Yes!

Kid Friendly? Yes! There’s a park at the end with a beautiful play area.

Bike Friendly too.

Cell Phone Signal: Yes!

THIS IS STILL THE DESERT- YOU MUST BRING PLENTY OF WATER AND SUN SCREEN.
A snack or a picnic would be good too! There are shaded picnic tables by the RIVER.

PROPER ATTIRE and SHOES are a MUST! A Hat and sunglasses would be a good idea. Sneakers are fine…

Make sure someone knows where you are at all times!
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The Low Down:
FACT: My Knees are killing me.

This is a BEAUTIFUL WALK! Long as hell…The sites don’t really change so don’t expect TOTAL NATURE AWESOMENESS.
At less then 1/4 mile from the bridge is a rest area so if you have to pee- do it now. You won’t find another bathroom until you get to the end of the trail (which can be an interesting but uncomfortable goal).
The trail up to the DAVIS DAM was really nice but it was SO WINDY. The way back seemed much longer because I was tired and my knees were screaming but the wind was at my back- pushing me along. Thanks WIND! I’d probably STILL be on the trail if you hadn’t jumped in!

The most interesting thing I saw was this:
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Which I spied hiding behind the brush off the Equestrian Trail. Neat-o!

This can be a terrific workout BTW. You can make it as fast or as slow as you’d like so if you need to burn off a buffet or whatever- work that shit!

Behold! The River…
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and some MORE river!
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just a tiny bit more river…
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My destination: That Damn Dam!
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On the way back, I took a photo of this cliff side. I thought it was cool!
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The Wrap Up:
Usually, I have a story of ADVENTURE to tell you but this trail is truly nothing extraordinary. It’s just a simple, nice, peaceful way to get out of the casinos and into the sunshine and fresh air. Nothing wrong with that, right?!

Grand Canyon NP- Rim Trail

                                                                 Your Host on Her Birthday!

                                          (You can click on any of the pictures to make them larger)

The Grand Canyon has been on my MUST SEE list for as long as I can remember. As a present to myself, I chose to spend my birthday at Grand Canyon NP. Just a 4 hour drive from Laughlin, Nv (which was my home base for this trip) and you’re in the one of the most gorgeous National Parks in the United States.

Direction to the RIM TRAIL: When coming from the main gate, park in parking lot 4. You can pick up the beginning of the RIM TRAIL in this locations and also visit the Information Center. Make sure you check out the wonderful information board regarding hiking the canyon. It just might save your life.

The Details:

We (my Co-Host Victor and Myself) left Laughlin a little later than planned but were on the road around 7:15 am.

We hit the town of Williams which is the gateway to the Grand Canyon and stopped at this wonderful sandwich shop called The Brown Bag (on 1st Street). They have a billion sandwiches to pick from and will wrap up a wonderful picnic lunch to take on your Canyon Adventure. This place rocks hardcore and adds enough protein to your sandwich that you don’t even miss the bread (just in case you have issues with carbs).

We took the¬†Hwy toward The Grand Canyon and climbed ever higher until we arrived at the Main Gate. It’s $25 for admission which is good for 7 days in the park. We were there just for the day and trust me-¬†it was worth every penny! Following the road toward the parking lots/camping areas, we turned into the very first one- Parking Lot #4. I found that this was the best lot to park in if you want to get some exercise while hiking the RIM TRAIL.

After reviewing the Hiking Display in the Visitors Center Courtyard, we bundled up (it was 25 degrees) and headed for the trail. After a 5 minute walk, we came upon this:

Happy Birthday To ME! Wow! 

We continued hiking for an additional 3 miles, stopping at the geological center and then ended at The Grand Canyon Village. Having our picnic lunch in a rocking chair, on the porch of EL Tovar Hotel was truly a moment. I was spellbound and drunk on nature at this point and completely enjoying myself when the wind picked up, the temperature dropped to about 19 degrees and we needed to hit the road.

Just the Facts: The RIM TRAIL is 12 miles of well paved, educational and fairly level awesomeness which has Wheelchair Access. It¬†has informational signs, touch displays and periscopes set up for you to see sections of the canyon outlined on their informational placards.¬†Photo ops abound! WARNING: You can slip and fall into the Canyon VERY easily. Don’t do anything dumb, seriously…

There are shuttles going from the¬†Parking Lots to the¬†Camp Grounds to The Village and the Vistors Center. It’s nice to pick one up after you’ve hiked a few miles and are completely windblown and boardering on frozen (or boiling to death in the summer months)…it’s like a free mini-tour of the park!

There are many trails to explore here at the South Rim- but be aware of your physical conditon, the heat/cold factor and the amount of provisions you take along. The Grand Canyon can be dangerous if you don’t recognize your limitations!

  

 

                                                             

Bring/Wear

  • Weather appropriate clothing (bundle up for the cold, layer for the heat)
  • Plenty of water no matter the weather
  • A camera is a MUST!
  • Hiking Boots or Sturdy Tennis shoes. Hiking boots for sure if you’re going on a MAJOR Trail.
  • Food for energy, especially in the Summer when you’ll need extra salt!
  • Sunscreen

Extras:

Kid Friendly? Yes, just keep an eye on the little ones at all costs!

Pet friendly? Yes

Handicap Access? Yes

Cell Phone Service? Surprisingly Yes. Above the Canyon.

All and all-¬† I had an amazing adventure and celebrated a birthday that I’ll never forget! On the way back to the hotel, I snapped this picture of the moon over the Az desert…

A beautiful end to a wonderful day…

Grapevine Canyon- Laughlin, Neveda

After you’re done indulging yourself on the¬†Gambling and Buffets- get your ass in gear and work the laziness and calories off by hiking Grapevine Canyon! Only about 20 minutes max from the Laughlin¬†Strip, this gorgeous hike really relaxes the mind and feeds the soul.

Your Hiking Hosts:  

      

¬† You all know me!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† …and here’s Victor!

Directions:  From Laughlin: Take Casino Dr to  Hwy 163 (make a Left onto 163) and follow it  for about 5 miles.  Make a right on Christmas Tree Pass and follow the dirt road to the parking area.

The Details: After a 1/4 mile walk on a dry but sandy¬†riverbed, you’ll come upon the most beautiful collection of Native American Petroglyphs imaginable.

 

Perched on the mountainside, a very easy and short climb will get you closer to these wonderful pieces of history.

   

  

 

After photographing the petroglyphs and hiking up and down the mountain, we decided to continue onward and upward to get a better view of the valley and see the 3 little waterfalls that were further up the canyon. This took some boulder scrambling so if you are not much of a climber, I’d skip this part if I were you.

     

 

                                          

This is straight up the Mountain

 

 

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A Great Little Cave leading further up the Mountain…

                                                                         

One¬†of the 3 Little Waterfalls…

  

  

  

  

  

  

 


 
If you want to go all the way to the top of the mountain, stay to your right and scramble up that way. I’m a little afraid of heights so we only went halfway up¬†and then sat for a while and just took in¬†the whole view. The wind was blowing lightly through the canyon and we were watching other hiker climb up the boulders. Many of them stopped to chat! It was a lot of fun!

 

A Little Extra Info for You:

FYI: I wouldn’t do this in temperatures¬†over 80 degrees. There is no shade unless you climb into a cave or something!

Bring/Wear:

  • PLENTY of water, even if it’s NOT hot
  • Appropriate hiking attire
  • Hiking boots or sturdy tennis shoes
  • Layer if it’s cool out
  • SUNSCREEN is a MUST
  • a SNACK for energy

Handicap Access: NO

Kid Friendly: Yes

Cell Service: Sort of

Dog Friendly: Yes- just clean up after them please

Type of  Hike: Easy/ Out and Back

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip

I had a great time hiking with Victor and I loved walking through the sand (even though it was kinda tough) as a change of pace from the average, regular dirt path. The view was beautiful, the waterfalls were smaller than I expected but still really pretty. It was fun to meet up with other hikers and being able to look at the petroglyph and see Native American History live and in person was spectacular!

This Hike is HIGHLY recommended!

Choo Choo! Exploring the Railroad Tunnel Trail- Boulder City, NV.

 

Directions: This hike is located along Highway 93 in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, about 1 hour southeast of downtown Las Vegas.

From Vegas Baby! Drive south on Highway 93, through Boulder City, to Lakeshore Road. Turn left (north) onto Lakeshore Road and drive north for a few tenths of a mile to the Lake Mead Alan Bible Visitor Center turnoff. Pass the turnoff, drive another 0.1 miles, and turn right (southeast) into a large parking area. This is the trailhead.

Facts:

4.4-mile walk (round trip)

Flat and Easy (like me in H.S.)

HISTORIC!

Scenic

Be off the trail by NOON in the Summer!

BringWear:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. WATER! LOTS of Water!
  3. A snack or lunch
  4. Hiking Boots or Sturdy Tennis Shoes
  5. Appropriate Clothes for the weather
  6. A Hat would be nice (and stylish)!

Kid Friendly, Dog Friendly and  Great for Beginning Exercisers.

Meet My Co-Host….. Officer Victor aka Superman (but don’t tell anybody)

The Railroad Tunnel Trail¬†is a terrific, short,¬†out and back hike that pretty much anyone can do.¬† I chose this hike for Victor and¬†myself because we had gone kayaking the day before and I had no idea what physical¬†condition we’d be in the next day.¬† We were draggin’ a bit but all and all- we had a good, little workout on this trail.

The trail is well marked and “crunchy” (full of little rocks- I love crunchy trails). The view is amazing and it gets even better everytime you reach a tunnel. You can see the railroad ties that have been tossed off the side of the mountain along with rusty cables and old rubbish from the Men who built Hoover Dam. VERY COOL.

I love the fact that this trail has a story- history, if you will….

When hiking this trail, you are basically walking on the Railroad bed that used to haul  construction supplies to Hoover Dam from 1931 Р1935. The tracks were used until 1961 and dismantled in 1962. It became part of the Natl Register of Historic Places in 1984. Again, very cool.

*A Crunchy Trail *

Our Hike in a nutshell…

We walked (crunch), we met cool people, we talked, we played with other hikers dogs, we sat and looked at the view while enjoying a snack, we talked about the history of the tunnels, we took pictures, we checked out the view, we visited all 5 tunnels and THEN…we turned around and did the same thing on the way back! The End!

It’s been WAY too long since you’ve seen me- here’s a pic!

AND NOW- MORE PICTURES, LESS WORDS!

 

  

Kayaking the Colorado River in Nevada/Arizona via Black Canyon

 

 

Starting Point: Willow Beach Marina – at the Southern End of Lake Mohave in Arizona and Nevada

Destination: Hoover Dam (and points in between) via Black Canyon

www.willowbeachharbor.com 

 Directions

From Las Vegas:

Travel South on I-515 which merges onto US-93 South. Continue on US-93 South through Henderson to Boulder City. Once in Boulder City, turn left onto US-93 Truck Route (across the Hoover Dam). Drive South 14 miles on Highway 93. Turn right onto Willow Beach Road. Follow the signs and drive 4 miles down to the marina.

From Southern California:

Travel North on I-15 to Barstow, CA. Merge onto I-40 to Kingman, AZ. Take US-93 North and travel 56 miles. Turn left onto Willow Beach Road. Follow the signs and drive 4 miles down to the marina.

Suggestions:

1) Go on a Sunday or Monday. Watercraft is not allowed in Black Canyon on those days.

2) Make your reservations WAY in advance and rent a Kayak for a whole day. I prefer to rent a single kayak instead of a double when I’m going¬†¬†with other people because I like to control my own boat!

3) If this is your 1st experience kayaking, go with someone who has ‘yaked before or take a guided tour.

4) If you’re going to be paddling more than 2 hours- wear paddling gloves!

What to Bring/Wear:

  • Quick-dry¬†Shorts¬† /Shirt – Nylon or Wicking Material
  • Warm Layers for Winter
  • River Sandals or Water Shoes
  • Hat and Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Bathing suit (I wore a quick dry T-shirt and Nylon Shorts)
  • Waterproof Camera and/or a Camera in a Plastic Bag
  • A First Aid Kit in a Baggie
  • Enough Water for 8 hours/Healthy,¬†Non-Perishable Snacks to keep your energy up
  • A flashlight

Dog Friendly, Kid Friendly (over the age of 6- I believe), Picnic Friendly, Camping Friendly and  Semi-Beginner (exercise wise) Friendly.

Our Adventure Begins…

My Fabulous Co-Host, Victor!

Officer Victor and I arrived at the Marina at around 8:30am. They are reconstructing the whole deal, so parking was limited but available since we were 2 of only 6 people there. We signed our contracts, tossed our gear into the kayaks and off we went into the great, wet yonder.

I’m an experienced ‘Yaker¬†but Victor is not. It’s not a hard thing to pick up, so Victor had it down in about 5 minutes. As we paddled and took in the scenery I periodically consulted the map we received at the rental counter. About¬†1 1/2¬†hours into our paddling I realized that we were GOING THE WRONG WAY! (O. M. G.)¬† WAY to GO EXPERIENCED Kayaker!!! Understand that we were starting at the BOTTOM of the canyon and were supposed to head up. There was a bit of a headwind, so I¬†¬†eyeballed¬†¬†the current and thought we were ALREADY heading upstream but in all actuality we were NOT! UGH! Ok…sorry…my bad…

We turn around and now we are REALLY paddling up the river. Against the current and s-l-o-w-l-y….

Losing valuable time, I figured that we’d never make it all the way up to Hoover Dam or even get remotely CLOSE to the Hot Springs and Waterfalls and such. After I beat myself up, pouted for a bit and gave up 17 times- I was fine and decided to just go with the flow and see as much as we could in the time we had left. I found out that not many kayakers go in the direction that we originally headed (toward Monkey Hole) and we saw parts of the river that most kayakers don’t experience. Now I feel special!

FYI- This is what can happen to you if you don’t wear Paddling Gloves. Note to self: Ask Santa for gloves.


 

 

 

I have a matching one of these on the other thumb as well!

 

     

 

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking in Black Canyon. Around every bend and cove is another amazing discovery!

  

The one place I REALLY wanted to see was Emerald Cove. When the sun hits the water at a certain time the cove illuminates with an unbelievably beautiful, green glow !

Into the cove we go… ¬†¬† ¬†

 

closer to the Marina.

  

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  Gem water!  

After leaving the cove,¬†Victor and I continued paddling a little further up the Canyon and then decided to go ashore and have a little picnic! We beached our ‘yaks and then waded through this weird, flat, white, grass that actually looks like sand until you get right on top of it.¬† It was nice to get out of the boats for a bit, stretch our legs and soak in the atmosphere. Finishing our snacks, we realized that the kayaks had to be back in¬†an hour. Back down river¬†we went-finding another perfect PIRATE cave, spying some Blue Heron, scaring some odd looking¬†ducks.¬†¬†¬†

Arriving¬†back from where we started. Exhausted but elated- we checked in the kayaks, hopped into Victor’s Super Van and headed off for a nap and some late dinner.

Even after all the research I did regarding Black Canyon, I realized that being dropped in UP RIVER would have been a better idea. Now we have an excuse to come back this spring and do it again!

  

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Just in case you needed to see me again…here you go.

  

 

 

(although a bit blurry)