On top of the world (or at least Las Vegas)

by , Jul 13, 2008 | 9:35 pm

No, Hoyt, don’t do it! Hoyt Corkins sherpas Tuscaloosa Johnny to Red Rock Canyon for some fresh perspective and 2008 WSOP recovery.

Nearly driven mad from the land of poker, I had the opportunity on Sunday to get out of town. Since Hoyt Corkins busted out of the main event on Saturday he now had time to go for a hike.

I went to his house and we hopped in his jeep, fully equipped with four-wheel drive, roll bars and a winch with five-ton capacity that would surely get you out of a sticky situation. Starting too late to tackle Mt. Charleston, we instead headed to Red Rock Canyon to take the jeep trails into the Rainbow Wilderness area there.

It was no easy go up the rocky trails and I was surprised to see some drivers of Grand Cherokees try the climb. From the point in which we exited the main scenic drive through the canyon until we arrived at the trail to the North Peak probably took nearly an hour over the short, but rough terrain.

The hike was 1.3 miles from the jeep and I lugged a backpack full of bottled water and trail mix. As the young one of the duo I got to be the mule. Although the trail was labeled as difficult on the guide sign, we found the going fairly easy at first. Still those uphill trails can get an out of shape fellow winded pretty quickly so we took frequent breaks.

The view from the top was worth the hour hike to it. From the North Peak we could see all of Vegas below, as well as Lake Mead, which was probably 50 to 60 miles in the distance. I’ve done a lot of hiking in my day, from the Appalachians to the Rockies, but this was the best view from the top with the absence of trees blocking the panoramic view. We stopped for a while to check out the view, but departed when we saw rain clouds coming up on us.

“You don’t mess with those flash floods,” Hoyt said. “If it starts raining hard we’ll be stuck here for the night.”

I certainly perished that thought so we hustled back, although we had to take it easy in spots due to the loose shale along the trail. It started sprinkling on the way down with a cool breeze in our faces. It sure beat the heat of walking down the Strip.

We arrived safely back at the jeep and the rain had stopped. We headed back down. Probably the most enjoyable day I’ve had on this trip. Not to self: need to get out of the casinos more often…

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