We left the Tonopah area just after 8am, and had a nice drive on Hwy-95 to I-80.
Light traffic over the Sierras on I-80 and made it home just after 3pm.
TOTAL MILES: 4,827 miles.
Next trip, January 2018 = Lake Havasu Hot Air Balloon Festival.
We went out after dark to watch the stars in the pitch dark desert sky.
The Milky Way Galaxy was clearly visible.
We got an early start from Las Vegas and started north across the desert along Hwy-95.
We made good time and drove by such towns as:
Indian Springs: Home of Creech AFB and their aerial drone UAV program.
Mercury: Home of the Nevada Nuclear Test Site & ‘Area 51’.
The above and underground nuke tests have stopped, but the facility is still in use today.
I spent a couple of weeks there a few years ago, training / playing with bombs / explosives for the government, just a 1/4 mile from ‘Area 51’ (all the facilities are listed as ‘areas’), and no, I never saw an alien there!
Amargosa Valley: Home of the Area 51 ‘Alien Center’, motel and gas station.
Goldfield: Home of the haunted & abandoned Goldfield Hotel.
Tonopah: Old silver mining town.
We’re spending the night at the I-95 Miller’s Rest Area, a few miles outside Tonopah, Nevada. It’s like a desert oasis in the middle of nowhere.
Tomorrow, we’ll arrive back home.
Today, we awoke to calm winds and blue skies. The highs were only in the 50’s.
After wiping all the dirt / dust off the truck, from yesterday’s wind storm, we took a 45 minute long drive west to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Even though Red Rock Canyon is only 15 miles away from the Las Vegas casino area, it’s a world apart, with a looped roadway and numerous hiking trails. The area is also popular with rock climbers.
We’ve hiked some of the trails in the past, but today, we decided to tackle the Calico Tanks Trail.
The 2.5 mile trail is listed as ‘moderately difficult’ and climbs over rocks, to a rise in elevation of 450ft.
We put on our rock climbing shoes and started up the trail. We walked along dry creek beds and up into the Red Rock hills.
Along the way, we saw old areas where Indians camped and cooked 1000’s of years ago.
Near the summit, were large natural bowls in the rocks (the tanks) that collect water in the winter and spring.
Once at the top, we could see commanding views of the area, including downtown Las Vegas in the distance.
Tomorrow, we are leaving the Las Vegas area and traveling north along Hwy-95, and spending the night at Miller’s Rest Area, just north of Tonopah, Nevada.
We stayed in camp today, one to recuperate from a week of hiking, and two, due to 35mph+ winds and blowing dust in the area.
We pulled out of Virgin, Utah at about 11am, and headed south-west along I-15, quickly through the south-west corner of Arizona, and into Nevada.
The drive on I-15 through the Virgin River Canyon was spectacular.
We arrived in Las Vegas about 1pm (gained an hour switching to Pacific Time) and we’ll be spending three nights at the Hitch’in Post RV Park north of downtown Las Vegas.
It’s a large RV park with mostly pull-thru spaces and full hook-ups.
Nothing fancy, but it’s away from the noise of downtown Las Vegas and has an inviting pool area.
Early this morning, we returned back to the Zion National Park.
Since our son hiked the Angels Landing trail last year, we couldn’t be outdone by a fit, 22 year old runner / hiker, and his bragging rights.
At 8:30am, we left the Grotto bus stop and head up to the Scout Landing trail to the Angels Landing trail.
The trail almost immediately starts out steep, with long trail switch-backs.
In a distance of two miles, there’s an elevation climb of 1,200 ft – that’s like climbing a 120 story skyscraper with a starting elevation of 4,000+ ft.
While on the trail, we had light winds at 52 degrees – perfect hiking weather.
We climbed the first section of switch-backs and at the top of the first mountain face, the trail levels out between two rock walls, then there’s a second set of switch-backs known as ‘The Wiggles’.
That section is about a 75 degree climb almost straight up, with a series of short narrow steep pathways.
At the top of the trail is an area known as ‘Scout Landing’. From there we could see mountain climbers below us on a nearby mountain face. We could also see the start of ‘Angel Landing Trail’.
That trail goes up father, but is a narrow, pathway along a stone face – all the while hanging onto a chain embedded in the rock. The fall off that ledge way is well over 1,000 ft straight down!
We walked the trail a short distance to get a feel of the pathway. We only saw mostly 20 year old males, continuing to the even narrower area of the ledges.
In total, we were gone 2.5 hours (1.5 hours up, .5 hour at the top and .5 hour hiking down).
On the trail we could see several active areas where the trail had been washed out by water and was being repaired.
We didn’t know how they trekked the concrete and tools up the mountain trail. Then we saw how, gas powered constructing buggies.
Tomorrow we head out of the Zion area, and spend three nights in the Las Vegas area.