Memorial Day in Las Vegas… A Salute to All The Brave
So how do you celebrate one of the nations most iconic holidays while trapped in the City of Sin?
#1 With Family of course if they are available or in town.
#2 By eating a great breakfast at 7,700 feet.
#3 By getting as far out of the city as possible to reflect and get back to your roots.
I have been living in Las Vegas for the past six months and the 24/7 lifestyle can really begin take its toll. Aside from all the glamourous wining and dining, there is much more that Vegas has to offer that very few people take advantage of during their quick stint in town. So when my cousin gave me the news that he was completing a cross country tour to fulfill an internship in LA for the summer and needed a couch to sleep on for a couple of days. I felt it was a great opportunity for me to get out and see some of Las Vegas that I have not made the time for, and to show them just how spectacular Las Vegas can be aside from the bright lights of the strip. Or to better rephrase that, they reminded me just how beautiful the surrounding desert can be and how important it is to take advantage of it during my time here.
The first stop that we hit was breakfast at the Mountain Lodge located on Mount Charleston about a 45 minute drive from the strip. Mount Charleston is the highest peak in the Spring Mountain Range with an elevation of about 11,900 ft. Just before the last jump off point there is the Lodge located at 7,700 ft above sea level, where we feasted on delicious chicken fried steak overlooking the spring Mountain range. Even though the temperature in the valley was around 100 degrees, it was a nice sunny 75 and the smell of pine really makes you forget you live in a desert.
The second sight that we hit was the Hoover Damn. Since over a million people a year visit this monumental structure I felt it was time to pay homage to one of the greatest architectural creations humanity has ever built. How impressive can a damn be? To start, such a large concrete structure had never been attempted before, and some of the techniques were unproven, requiring a sheer testament of faith and determination by the all the parties involved. It was a massive effort, in which over 100 hundreds lives were lost; but still minimal considering that over 5,000 men had worked on this project over the course of five years.
One can’t help to be overtaken by awe when walking across and seeing the structure that literally allowed Las Vegas to be put on the map. With a weekend based around all the brave men who have died in securing our freedom so a structure like this could be built, there was no better place to see the American flag fly high in the bright blue desert sky.
After finishing up at the Hoover Damn, we then proceeded to the Valley of Fire to finish up the afternoon scrambling up iconic red sandstone formations, formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs. The jagged sandstone formations are estimated to be over 150 million years old and are at an elevation of around 2,000-2,600 feet above sea level. It is part of the Lake Meade state park and has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. which encompasses over 42,000 acres of state land. Even though temperatures were reaching in upwards of 100 degrees, it was easy to forget, seeing how spectacular the surrounding beauty of the landscape is.
When it is all said and done with, these experiences that we were able to share would not have been possible without all the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have gone before us and giving their lives to secure our freedom. It is the greatest sacrifice to give, and they will not go unremembered. Therefore as part of Roguebackpacker I would like extend a debt of gratitude to all our military and to all the people who have defended our country. It is because of you we have this day. Thank you.