05 June 2013

Slot Canyons & Hot Springs - Vegas Style

In March I enjoyed a fantastic 10-day trip to Red Rocks Canyon outside of Las Vegas. I've never been to either Red Rocks or Vegas, so when the crew was heading down to climb, I jumped on the opportunity for some sunshine! And while I'm pretty sure I could live my whole life without ever stepping foot inside another smoke-filled Vegas casino, I certainly plan to adventure back to Red Rocks frequently for the rest of my life. There is so much about the Southwestern US that I am completely in love with and I need to spend more time down there.

We had a rotating crew of about 11 people. Some were there only a few days (but brought enough awesome for ten days! [Hexar]) while others came later and stayed through the week. Allen and I stayed the longest - 10 days is a lot of climbing for the little fingers to handle. On one of our rest days we went for a little hike to some natural hot springs. And let me tell you, it was SPECTACULAR.

Old engine block on the trail. See? - SPECTACULAR!

The start of the hike for Gold Strike Hot Springs was an hour+ drive from Bonnie Springs. We started hiking in mid-late afternoon and saw a few parties coming back out on our way in, which we felt boded well for pool availability.

The canyon started wide and became progressively more narrow. The walls were lined with huge caves. Very chossy rock initially.

Jeremy leading the way

I'm not sure how Mandy found this hike, but the beta for the descent (you go down first, then back up on the way out) was pretty "intimidating". Being rock climbers, we were amused to actually get to the "huge boulders" and find them to be nothing more than a 5.2ish downclimb. In some cases, someone just cut steps right into the rocks for you. Intimidating indeed...

Hold me Allen - I'm not sure I'm gunna make it!

The instructions said 6 miles round trip and 5-6 hours total travel time. Imagine our surprise then when we stumbled upon the first pool (complete with a couple bathing in the nude) after just 55 minutes. Not wanting to be gapers, we passed them by and ventured further down into the canyon, where we were rewarded with more empty pools full of clear, hot water.

Hot Spring!
Cheers! Allen hiked with a backpack. Not saying it was full of beer, but not saying it was NOT full of beer... 

Adjacent to our pool was a little natural "water slide". Allen gave it a go, first sliding down on his bottom. Not feeling like that was extreme enough, Allen then decided to slide down face first.

Like all ill fated ideas, it started when he said, "Hold my beer and watch this" and ended with his face bloodied. Hey, better him than me amirite?!?!

I seriously love this photo. What a fantastic expression! All, "I got my beer, I'm coo."

With waning sunlight and a rucksack full of empty beer cans, we began our leisurely hike out. Even with our balance skills somewhat hindered, we found the hike to be quite straightforward. We even did a little "rock climber" exploring instead of sticking to the marked trails. You know us, can't stop climbing even on a rest day!

Mandy using the rope to ascend. Cheater.
Jeremy tenderly caressing his beloved rock
We found the car under a gorgeous full moon and crystal clear skies. If you are ever in Vegas, I highly suggest getting out of the city and checking out this amazing and relatively unknown little gem. Clothing optional, just be sure to bring enough beer and bandaids.

Goodnight Moon


Ingunn said...

I'm the biggest wuss in the world and even I had no problem with those boulders! Those hot springs are a great escape from the disgusting hellhole that is Las Vegas.

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