January 12, 2019
8:30 and I’m out the door to find some breakfast. I picked a place near downtown called Eat. I grabbed a spot at the counter where I could watch the cooks working hard in their small kitchen. I had pancakes were amazing!! Seriously the best pancakes I’ve ever had, and the service was great too.
Having finished my breakfast and my much needed coffee I got a Lyft to the strip. It was about 10am so I had an hour to kill before my walking tour started. I decided to wander around the shopping center that’s part of Caesar’s Palace full of designer stores full of things I’ll never be able to afford. There a few pretty fountains, that I’d assume are replicas of ones in Italy.
My walking tour with Nomad Walking Tours started near the volcano outside the Mirage. There were about 12 of us on the tour and we walked from the north end of the strip south to the MGM Grand. Es, our tour guide was full of knowledge about the history of the casinos, and resorts, and all kinds of free stuff to do on the strip. Some of his recommendations included the botanical gardens at the Bellagio and the flamingo habitat at the Flamingo. At the half way point of the tour we were at the Bellagio to watch the first fountain show of the day. We continued down past New York, New York to the MGM Grand.
Since it’s a free waking tour the guides are working only for tips, so if you do plan to do this walking tour don’t forget to bring some cash and plan on walking for about two hours.
After the tour was over I walked back up the strip to New York, New York and got some overpriced sushi for lunch. I walked past Paris, and into the Venetian, however I found them to be incredibly underwhelming. The strip is just so crowded, and it’s really just not for me.
Since it was still pretty early in the afternoon I got a Lyft to the Nevada State Museum in Springs Preserve. I spent about an hour and a half at the museum, and I thought it was really great! It walks you through the whole history of Nevada from dinosaurs to showgirls. I found it really fascinating to learn the this dry desert landscape was once ocean floor millions of years ago. I also learned that there’s a lot of silver deposits, which is part of what brought people here. I really enjoyed the mining and railroad history of the turn of the century. They have a few vintage show girl costumes, but I didn’t have much time to look at that since the museum was closing.
I got a Lyft back to my Airbnb and got all of my stuff together for my hike the next morning. I called it a night pretty early again since I had to be up and ready to go at 7 the next morning.
January 13, 2019
I was awake a little before 6:00, but I don’t think I actually got out of bed until 6:30. I didn’t really need to do much to get ready for hiking I got dressed, put on my hiking boots and grabbed my bag. My guide picked me up at my Airbnb a little after 7:00 and we were heading northeast to the Valley of Fire! I was a little surprised that it was just myself and my guide David, but it made for a really great time!
The first trail we hiked was Mouse’s Tank. The trail goes past time petroglyphs that were really interesting to see. I’m amazed at how well some of them have been preserved, and would love to be able to to meet to people that put them there all those centuries ago.
Once we got to the tank (natural water reservoir) we climbed up on top of the smooth rock to the left of the tank. There was a small cave like space to walk through and at the end of it a narrow space to climb straight up. Finding foot and hand holds to get up was a little challenging since I don’t do much climbing ever. It was probably less than 15 feet to climb straight up, but to get out of the hole at the top I had to toss my bag off to the side to be able to lift myself out. Even though it really wasn’t that high up, I made the mistake of looking down before I lifted myself out and it looked like I was higher up than I was. My guide pointed out big horn sheep and lizard tracks in the sand along the way. We hiked past rocks that looked like a turtle and a sparrow. We climbed up on top of one last big rock, and the view was phenomenal!!
It was a short drive though the Valley of Fire to the White Dome trail. As I’m sure you can guess from the name of this trail, the rocks here are bright white. It’s quite the contrast to the rusty red of the rest of the stone in the valley of fire. The area around White Domes was used as a movie set in the 1960s for the western movie The Professionals. The movie being fillmed in the area is largely responsible for the road out there being built. Towards the beginning of the trail there’s a tiny piece of the set that they saved. Continuing along the trail we came to a narrow slot canyon. it was a little cozy to say the least. it got more and more narrow to the point that I had to walk sideways. It comes to a point where we had to hop up a foot or two, and it widens back up befor getting narrow again. My guide gave me the option to squeeze thorugh sideways again or to go up. So, up we went. We climbed with our backs against one side and our feet against the other and shuffled over until it was wide enough again. We made our way out of the narrow gap in the stones and continued along the short loop back to the car.
I would very highly recommend if you’re on Vegas and want to do a guided hike to to one with Take a Hike. My guide David was awesome. They offer hiking options other than the Valley of Fire and all of their guided hikes are reasonably priced. For those who are interested, I will leave links to their website and to their Instagram at the end of this post.
I was back to my AirBnB around noon. I took a shower and got ready for my last afternoon in Vegas. I decided to go back to Eat for brunch. Again, the food and the service were phenomenal! I asked my server for a recommendation for something to do, and she recommended the Arts District. She asid there was an art gallery/studio space called The Arts Factory, so that’s where I headed to.
I got a Lyft to The Arts Factory instead of taking the downtown loop shuttle. The gallery was super cool. There were people out side playing music and painting. There’s two floofs of studio space for a dozen or so artists and a larger gallery on the first floor. Pretty much all of the art is for sale. I spent a good amount of time talking to a few of the artists and the gallery owner. I knew I didn’t have it in my budget or the room in my backpack to buy anything too large, so I bought three prints to take home with me.
I headed south long main street from The Arts Factory to see what else I could find in the area. I found a vintage clothing store, and a few antique stores. One of the andtiques stores had more than a dozen crates full of records! I spent a good amount of time just digging throug the records looking for something I wanted. I came a cross a lot of ones that I already had, and a lot of ones I really wanted. I was unsure if my backpack was big enough to fit a record in it, so I decided I would only get one and decided on Highway to Hell by AC/DC.
I looked through a few more vintage stores, but I didn’t really find much. It was getting close to dinner time, so I found a place to get something to eat. The restaurant I picked was called Ester’s Kitchen, and it was very good! I would definitely recommend it, the sea bass was fantastic! I got a Lyft back to my Airbnb, and got everything packed up since I was leaving the next morning.
January 14, 2019
I decided to change things up and not go to Eat for breakfast, instead I went to Publicus. Their sourdough waffles were perfect!
After breakfast, I got a Lyft to the Carroll Shelby Museum, which is right by the airport. If you’re a car person I would highly recommend visiting. The tour is about an hour, and it’s free! You don’t have to do the tour to see some beautiful cars you can walk through the showroom without being on the tour. When I was there they happened to have the very first Shelby ever made!
The tour that day was running longer than usual, and I had a flight to catch, so I had to leave early. Vegas was fantastic, until next time, safe travels everyone!