This is the second and final installment from our short trip to Las Vegas where we chose to play in the slot canyons rather than play the slots. Here’s proof, however, that Gwen and I actually spent an evening on the “strip.” The following morning, hangover-free and still “in the black,” we were raring to get to nearby Red Rocks Conservation Area. The warmth and dryness of which was easy to settle into.I’m not accustomed to sporting any cotton on a hike other than maybe a hanky, so my shorts felt sort of like cheating. Especially in December. Cotton is a total liability when there’s threat of hypothermia as it will instantly leech heat from your body and add pounds to your load when wet. Its obviously a different story in the desert.The reddest rocks met us immediately and we pulled off the one way loop road to just soak them in. Then, we hit the trail which was flanked by cacti, and many unknown scrubby shrubs. I marveled at the tenacity with which these plants can survive the many consequetive months of zero precipitation.As the trail circumnavigated the stoney cliffs, the vegetation got taller and broader. (Credit Gwen at Badinkadink for many of the great photos in this post!) One rock offered a nice reminder…Yes, “let go!” I could feel the stress of the first quarter of my Physical Therapist’s Assistant program disintegrating with each quiet turn of the trail. It has been quite the shock to be back in school after fifteen years! I sense that Gwen shared some of my stress, as a supportive spouse might, and I think she appreciated the arid peace every bit as much as I. What a sweetie!All in all, the trip was way too short as there are SO MANY excellent options for exploring! Zion, Escalante, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon are all within three hour’s drive or less. Bryce and Arches are a just a little further and I”m sure there are many great spots I failed to research. Will have to save them for next time!