It’s amazing how different your perception of time gets, lost in the flashing lights and disorientating sounds of a place like Vegas.

CANYONS AND CASINOS, HOODOOS AND HOOHA’S

Written By Louisa Mow in the Fabulous Las Vegas
 The drive from Lee's Ferry to the Grand Canyon brought us back up on to higher mountain plains and roads. The temperature had cooled and we could now see green meadows and pine trees flooding the landscape. The air smelled fresh and rays of sunshine were squeezing through clouds and across the canopy of pine trees. As we drove along, our car was often swallowed in a dusty ray of pollen caught in the light.

When we arrived at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the wind was the first indicator of just how far up we were, and just how far down everything else was going to be. Peering through the pine trees we saw glimpses of deep red and purple. As we headed out onto the cliffs edge we began to see and appreciate the enormity of the canyon and its splendor. My knees buckled as I looked down and we all searched for scarier viewpoints to climb to.

Not long after we arrived, twilight started to settle in and the Canyon was enveloped in a gorgeous misty purple dusk. We spent most of our time in silent awe as the sun set, and being on the quieter north rim of the park, we were treated to the blissful sounds of the wind sweeping through the canyon.

Later on, we took a drive to see the surrounding area and we came just in time to see an old burned forest with the most spectacular late evening sunset gleaming through. The charcoal plains were lit up with fiery red and the white skeletons of trees contrasted beautifully with the midnight blue. It was surreal.

 After spending the night parked up by the spectacular coral pink sand dunes, we spent the morning driving out to Bryce Canyon. It was an incredible drive too, the road weaved in and out of peach colored natural stone bridges and the weather here was cool enough for pine and spruce to grow -- right alongside the orange pinnacles of the Grande Escalante.

Arriving into Bryce Canyon was really just mind boggling. The hoodoos jutted up one after the other, rows and rows right out into the horizon. They formed strange twisted crevices, deep slot canyons, and red caverns. We took an amazing hike through a narrow winding passage that weaved in a zig-zag downhill and you could feel the temperature getting cooler as you descended into the cavern. We stopped and sat in a natural window that looked out onto the pinnacled valley and then another that peered into a dark red cave. The color at the top of the trail was a very pretty pale orange and dusted with white, but the deeper we went the more orange it became.


At the floor or the trail and looking up, it seemed like each hoodoo had formed their own well between them and it was mesmerizing looking at the sky from the darkness below. The canyon had been carved into odd shapes as well, thy almost looked like they had been formed by alien life, and with the pine trees dotting through the shady orange, it made the whole experience feel otherworldly.


It was a very long and very hot walk back up to the top. But it was worth every bit of sweat as we were greeted by one of the greatest views we had ever seen. A valley of orange hoodoos that took your breath away as they magically waved through the landscape and right above us was Thor’s Hammer- a weird jutting hoodoo with a hammer shaped rock on top, that was dripping in orange and white.

This was just the start of our day as well, and we spent a part of the afternoon almost getting stuck in a flash flood near Buckskin Gulch, an isolated slot canyon much like the famed Antelope Canyon in Page, but much less touristy. (Hint, check it out if you can find it). We then started our long drive into the deserts of Nevada where we were welcomed by blistering heat and
 cacti as far as the eye could see. In the strong afternoon sun our trusty old van almost overheated. We had to pull up on the side of the road where truck drivers had left gifts of urine filled jugs that had formed a distinctive aroma in 40 degree heat. We opened the hood, broke out some cool bottles of Gatorade and waited...

After our car had cooled down, we drove out into the sunset and almost instantly saw Vegas on the horizon. Come 9pm it was still 47°c, but we had arrived into the city of bright lights and onto the strip of everything money can buy. We went through Egypt at Luxor Casino, New York at New York, New York Casino, spent time in Rome at Caesar’s and even in Venice, the Eiffel Tower and a Parisian square. Ila won money on the penny slots at the Flamingo, which was pretty exciting.


 They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and I'm sure it’s true -- it is so disorientating you wouldn't be able to recount it all adequately anyway. We didn't get to sleep until 5am and it had been a long time since we were confined to dark artificially lit interiors - entering at night and then not surfacing on the street until the sun had risen. It’s amazing how different your perception of time gets, lost in the bright lights and disorientating sounds of a place like Vegas.

The next day we were asked to participate as a test audience for a new TV show at the MGM Grand. We also had an amazing steak lunch paid for by our winnings and I spent quite a bit of time at some of my favorite photographer's galleries.