A while back my family was invited to a 50th wedding anniversary party for my husband’s aunt and uncle which was to take place in early April. They live out in Nevada and since our 12-year-old daughter has never really gotten to see the sights out west other than the L.A. area, we decided to make a vacation out of it. We did a lot of activities and I learned a lot, as I typically do when I travel. More to come on that. Here’s a summary of the trip:
Day 1: Fly from Orlando to Las Vegas and drive to Zion National Park in Utah.
Day 2: Hike and do horseback riding in Zion and then drive approximately 4 hours to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Day 3: Hike in the Grand Canyon.
Day 4: Hike in the Grand Canyon some more and then drive approximately 3 hours to Laughlin, Nevada and have dinner with family.
Day 5: Hang out in Laughlin and attend the anniversary party that evening.
Day 6: Have breakfast and lunch with family and then drive to the Hoover Dam and continue on to Las Vegas. Hang out in Vegas and see some of the more kid-friendly things.
Day 7: Get up and fly back to Orlando.
In reality it went more like this:
Next, we made a Trader Joe’s run, got some awesome coffee at Mothership Coffee and then drove to Zion National Park.
Day 2: Hiked and also did a three hour horseback ride in Zion. Got to see beautiful scenery like this: (click on any of the pics to make them bigger)
I didn’t take a lot of pictures while we did horseback riding, because I was afraid of dropping my phone, but this was my view of H.B. for three hours. She was actually a mule, not a horse, and incredibly sweet, even though she did try to eat part of a fence.
Next, we drove approximately 4 hours to Grand Canyon National Park, checked into the hotel and got some sleep. Achievement unlocked!
Day 3: Woke up with incredibly sore ass due to the horseback riding. I knew this would happen, but I cannot overstate how sore my butt was. At the age of 39, it’s both fascinating and terrifying that I can get insanely sore in places that I didn’t even know existed. Totally worth it though and I’d do it again. Next we went to Grand Canyon National Park and hiked part of the Bright Angel Trail.
We made it to the three mile rest house, which is about 2,000 feet down into the canyon. Click the picture below and check out the pink dot.
This is the view from the pink dot, back up to the top of the canyon. As they said in the signage, going down is voluntary, coming up is mandatory.
Ah-mazing. Painful? Yes. Dusty? My sinuses are still giving me the finger. Worth it? 100%
Day 4: Woke up with less sore butt, but excruciatingly sore legs, laughed at the idea of hiking more and just kind of walk limped around the visitor center, took some more pictures, bought some stuff, including the book to the left, (glad I didn’t read it BEFORE the trip) and then drove approximately 3 hours to Laughlin, Nevada and had dinner with family. Made it! Great to see everybody!
Day 5: Hung out in Laughlin, still insanely sore, as in still hobbling around, grunting and groaning when I stand up sore. Shot some pool with the fam at the hotel and attended the anniversary party, which was a fun time! Our daughter got to meet a lot of family that she’s either never met or hasn’t seen in a long time.
After the party, we went cosmic bowling and got to deal with a “lady” who had it in her head that we were sitting at her table, (we weren’t) and stealing her bowling balls (we didn’t). No lie, at one point, she stopped playing and told her little girl that they would continue playing once we had left. Apparently we are terrible people and I just didn’t know it. I told you I learned things on this trip!
Day 6: We had breakfast and lunch with family, packed up and then drove to the Hoover Dam. Like the Grand Canyon, it’s hard to get an appreciation for how big it is from movies and books. What an impressive feat of engineering this thing is!
After we left the Hoover Dam, we finished our loop of insanity by returning to Las Vegas. On the way there, we ended up in a torrential downpour, which rarely happens because, again, it’s the desert. I suppose the weather gods were trying to make up for the fact that the dry air tried to kill us when we first arrived. Joke’s on us. Fortunately, it let up…temporarily.
We decided to grab dinner and to see the tigers at the Mirage. We had an amazing meal at Mint Indain Bistro! If you’re ever in Vegas, check it out. It’s a little place, off the strip, a real hidden gem.
Our after dinner plans changed pretty quickly however, since we got snarled in traffic from people trying to see the boxing match. We were able to park at Caesar’s Palace and figured we’d walk from there to the Mirage which is right next door. Cue “Here Comes the Rain Again” because it did, so we ran from the parking lot toward the Mirage, but were getting soaked so we sought shelter in an alcove in front of Caesar’s. There were other people doing the same thing, as well as an Elvis impersonator who wanted to take a picture with us, so we ran away and into Caesar’s. The Elvis impersonator was a little creepy, hence the running away.
We figured the rain would stop again and we could go to the Mirage, but it didn’t. And no, we didn’t have an umbrella or ponchos or anything. At that point though we were all stuffed from our awesome dinner, and pretty beat in general, so we just headed back to the hotel to get some shut eye.
Day 7: We got up, and flew back to Orlando.
Summary: It was an amazing trip! More pictures and info about the hikes and horseback riding coming soon.