Fifteen miles from the Las Vegas Strip’s brilliant lights of limitless colors lies Red Rock Canyon, a seemingly misnamed national conservation area of multicolored rock formations.
Viewed from the luminous city, the surrounding mountains appear uniformly gray, bear and uninviting. But during my short hike with friends in this land within the Mojave Desert, I was struck by the range of its palette—blood red to fiery rust, murky whites to pale pinks, chocolate browns to slate grays, or to put some in geological terms: Aztec and Jurassic sandstone and Paleozoic limestone. Dotting this topography is diverse vegetation—bushes, weeds, cacti, flowers, as well as a lone tree poking through an occasional outcrop.
Our crew hiked far enough to say that we passed some petrified wood and crossed paths with a snake. The highlight, though, was a ram that peeked his curious horned head out from his perch atop a cliff above us.
If nothing more, my virgin voyage into this foreign landscape was a welcomed respite from the concrete, asphalt and bombardment of flashing LEDs in the distant city of light.