Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Sojourn - Red Rock Canyon, Boulder City, NV

"In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."

- Charles Lindbergh

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Boulder City, Nevada

Las Vegas is well known for its "Strip," a main thoroughfare through the city known for its grand hotels, noisy casinos, and opulent entertainment. Sparkle, glitz, and glamour is the name of the game on this street, and there seems to be a never-ending contest of one-upmanship to see which developer can build the most impressive monument to conspicuous consumption. It is an eye-popping experience to travel the four mile length from end to end.

If you continue west of the strip for just another fifteen miles, you will see for yourself how insignificant the human contest to impress really is.

Red Rock Canyon, a protected site of 195,819 acres in Clark County, NV, has been home to no less than six separate cultures of Native Americans through the history of North America. It is a vast expanse of red rock formations, sandstone peaks, and other-worldly plant species.

The scenic delights here make the Las Vegas Strip look like nothing but tiny tacky children's toys. Indeed, you know as you hike through any of the dozens of trails that all that glitz and glamour is close by...somewhere, but there is absolutely no evidence of it, no matter where you turn in any direction. You are surrounded only by the greatest grandeur imaginable...the stunning beauty of the Earth herself. 

This was our second visit to Red Rock Canyon in about six months, and I suspect that we will continue to explore it each time we come to visit the Happy Couple. I can't imagine ever "finishing" this tour.

Here are just a few of the images I captured on this visit...  

Delicate beautiful flowers are evident, though
almost all are shielded by a phalanx of thorns, 

 Huge rock monoliths scatter the landscape

Look closely and you can still see the
ancient petroglyphs on the cave walls...

The flowers and berries were bright spots of color in the scenery

...and even felt as lush as an English garden at times.

The rock formations were a kaleidoscope of colors...

 ...and some of the paths were a deep soft red.

 The scrub oaks found their places between the immense rocks

...and the Joshua Tree cacti were always close by

Some of the formations appeared to be frowning...

But this one was definitely smiling...

Today I hope you can take a few minutes to drink in the powerful beauty of the earth around you.

What a strange choice of may think that as you listen.  I did listen to hours of Native American music as I prepared to choose something to honor and reflect the Southwest for this post, but my mind kept drawing me back to Edward Elgar and his majestic music of Nimrod from "Enigma Variations." This version is conducted by Daniel Barenboim with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, opening the 1997 season at Carnegie Hall.

Elgar never held back. This evocative piece is indicative of the sweeping panoramas, the magnificence of nature, and the deeply felt emotions of the day. Enjoy. 

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Your visit makes my heart smile. Thank you.