Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

One Step at a Time

November 30, 2012

It was about this time last year when we decided to go to Bhutan on a hiking trip for our October birthdays.

Canary Islands

For Christmas I got hiking boots and we began breaking them in.  On every trip we scheduled at least 1 hiking day.  Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, Saguaro Lake and Hole in the Rock while in Phoenix for Christmas.  Hikes to falls in the San Gabriel Mountains around Pasadena.  Even on a cruise we hiked  some of the 300+ volcanic cones on the Canary Islands.

Rattlesnake Ledge

As the weather warmed we got friends to join us on Rattlesnake Ledge.  We hiked a couple of days in Kauai on our annual honeymoon.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Then, in an attempt to prepare for the elevation of Bhutan, we went to Deer Valley, Utah – minimum elevation 8,500ft.  During our 2 weeks there, we hiked over 70 miles.

Deer Valley, UT

Tiger’s Nest Monastery Hike

All that and the hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery was still the single most physically demanding thing I’ve done to date.  Begin at 8,500 feet – end at 10,200.  Steep, thin air and 9.1 miles round-trip.  Add in the 1556 stairs cut into the sides of the ravines (300 in one stretch – 478 in the other) not to mention the 100 or so stairs within the monastery complex I didn’t even bother to count – well, you get the idea.

Even if you never plan to go on a hiking trip to Bhutan, hiking is a great activity.  You can do it virtually anywhere, you get to see some wonderful slices of nature, it increases your physical activity level and stretches your budget.  Other than a pair of decent shoes (even tennis shoes in many cases) you don’t need any special or expensive equipment.

Vasquez Rocks

So how do you find a hike that’s right for you?  Type into your favorite search engine an appropriate phrase such as “easy hikes near Seattle”.   You’ll get plenty of results to explore.  Look for the hike profile which includes information such as length of hike, usually a time estimate, a difficulty rating and the elevation change.  Some will even have photos and comments by other hikers.

A couple of safety notes, you should try not to hike alone.  Always carry at least a basic first aid kit, appropriate amounts of water and a cellphone.  It’s also a good idea for someone at home to know where you were headed and about when to expect you back – just in case.

Sarguaro Lake

There is a world of beauty out there – breathtaking vistas, colorful canyons, stunning falls, towering trees and an abundance of flora and fauna.  You don’t need any special training, just put one foot in front of the other and GO!


Happy Haunting

September 28, 2012

Halloween is barely a month away – time to start planning your costume and deciding where and how to celebrate.

The Mardi Gras of the Pacific is Lahaina on Maui.  The annual parade on Main Street has a family friendly version early and then later it definitely turns more “adult”.  Costumes are definitely the order of the day and there is music all evening .  If you’ve never been – it’s worth doing at least once.


Las Vegas is another nearby Halloween haunt.  The Hard Rock Casino and Resort is hosting the “Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Bash”.  There’s no shortage of parties in the various clubs and hotels around Vegas to celebrate.

Want something closer to home?  Tulalip Casino just north of Seattle in Marysville is hosting “Monster Bash”.  Tickets are only $15 in advance so you can spring for a hotel room for the night too!

Snoqualmie Casino has the KISW  “Heaven or Hell” bash in their ballroom with tickets for $25.  They don’t have a hotel so you’ll either have to drive home after the party (so be sure you have a designated driver) or stay nearby at the Salish Lodge.

All these big parties are taking place on the Saturday night before Halloween.  Get your tickets – especially if you also want to get a room – early!  There are also costume contests at most so you could make it a profitable and fun evening.

Don’t want to bother with a costume but want to get in the spirit of the season?  KUBE 93 has their annual “Haunted Morgue” in Georgetown.  Buy tickets on line and spring for the VIP pass and skip the line – that’s $10 well spent!  Do a quick Google search and you will no doubt find other haunted houses including some that are “family friendly” such as the one at the Nile Country Club in Mountlake Terrace.

Want to do something unique on Halloween proper (rather than the weekend before)?  Try Private Eye on Seattle Ghost and True Crime Tours.  At only $28 they offer 2.5 hours of haunted history of Seattle from a comfortable van.

If you end up not making plans but decide you want to have some fun – take an empty wine glass and go “Adult Trick or Treating” door to door in your own neighborhood!  Anyway you choose to celebrate, have a haunting good time!

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Blinding Snow

October 29, 2011

In a few minutes, I’m heading downstairs to pack.  Yesterday, when I told a woman I know that I was leaving this weekend for Las Vegas, she asked me what the weather is like there this time of year.  When I checked last week, it was predicted to be around 78 degrees and sunny every day.

She said to me, “How do you “check”?  Did you call the hotel or a friend and ask?”

She is not new to traveling so I thought, if she didn’t know, maybe you don’t know either!

About 10 days before a trip, I go to and put in the zip code where I will be staying.  You can put in the city name but in a large city, weather can vary depending on where you are so I use a zip code whenever possible.  It’s on your hotel confirmation as part of the address.

One of the options on the site is a 10 day forecast.  There is also a “weekend” option if you are just doing a quick getaway.  That will give you an idea of what to expect so you can think about what you will need to take or which outdoor activities will be most appealing.

Understand, this is only a forecast so be sure you check again right before you pack.  In this case, when I just checked again before starting to pack, the forecast had changed.  The first 2 days I’m there it will be shorts and swimsuit weather, but the rest of the week, the wind is picking up and dropping the temperatures significantly.  While it will still be sunny every day (sunglasses needed) it will be only in the 64-70 range which is not quite pool temps for me.

You can also Google television stations for the area where you are going and visit the local station websites for weather as well but I find the zip code option to be the most accurate.

I also use the “average monthly temperature” feature on to see if a particular area is suitable for what I have in mind (think getting out of the cold and rain in January).  Where this is based on many years of data, it still gives you a clue as to when the “rainy season” typically is or how much snowfall an area gets in an average month.

Bookmark the weather website on your computer in a folder marked “Travel” along with your favorite hotels, airlines and car rental companies.   Check it early, check it often and adjust accordingly!

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