Back in January of 2013 I traveled to Las Vegas Nevada to attend my long time friend James’s Bachelor party. Originally very excited to spend an extended amount of time in the sin city I was brought to the desert for 3 days of partying and sending off my friend in the right way to marry the woman he loves. Upon arrival I immediately met up with James and my other friend Justin Jarvis (Dirt) to discuss our plan of attack on this overwhelming oasis on the senses that is Las Vegas.
We first checked in and hit up a liquor store to get our preparations for the festivities that would commence throughout the weekend. After completion of the first whiskey and coke from our purchase we meandered into the city that does not sleep to see where the weekend would take us. With no real plans in mind other than meeting up with James Brother in Law and hitting the craps tables we descended on this infamous city with a passion for excitement and wonderment of how this massive town was founded.
I don’t think that it still really registers in my head how some 70 years prior to my arrival this modern day sin city was spawned by the notion of all these outlaws and degenerates that just didn’t fit into a typical societal model. I myself struggle with this same notion throughout my life when I reflect back. Whether it is my early years of anti government revolt by listening to the likes of Rage against the Machine. Trying to put my roots in the anarchist movements with the various punk bands that dominated my later teen years. Or as of recent my passion for travelling, and festivals sub cultures such as burning man or Bonnaroo that have really set a paradigm shift in the way I view the world as a whole and have shaped me into the individual I am today. Vegas is the modern day oasis of a type of life that goes against the typical standards of society which is why so many people can fall in love and understand it.
As the weekend went on Vegas unraveled before me and it showed some of its dark side as we visited various establishments throughout the strip. It really brought out a raw lust in people as I meandered the streets in my intoxicated state. The whole city screams of sex and excess. If I reflect back and think about my drunken early years this place would have been a Shangri-la, but as of recent years this place overwhelmed and sucked out my energy. After the full 3 days were up I found myself happy that we sent off my good friend in the right fashion, but also short on energy from all the sleepless nights. I immediately decided I needed to hit that oh familiar road to discover what other sides of this area exist and go to a much more spiritually guided place in Zion National Park.
Next step was to high tail it out of Vegas with a ferocity that only Vegas can appreciate. If your going to do it do it the max as Vegas does like no other location in this grand country. As I headed out with my windows rolled low I could feel the filth of Vegas sweat away as I went to a more peaceful and serene place beyond the desert oasis. It was hard to believe that within an hour I was well out of Vegas and all that existed was cliffs of huge red cliffs as I entered Utah and the landscape changed drastically. I pulled off the main highway as I started towards Zion and immediately was pleased in the lack of any cars around me. During the winter this park has very little traffic running through it so I literally had the park and city entrance way all to myself.
The first thing that strikes a person driving into Zion is the shear vastness of the cliffs that surround you and the colors of the stone all through the vast canyons. Its like god descended down on this landscape and decides to paint the sunshine in all its glorious spectrum and cascade it all over these vast cliffs that rise some thousands of feet above the road. It is almost humbling to arrive in places this grand and realize how small and puny the human race really is. I had to not only just experience this place by car so I decided on a somewhat simple trail or so I thought called in the hidden Canyon trail. It was only 6 miles round trip and about 1000 feet in elevation gain, but when your on a trail with this much beauty you really don’t realize the time or pain that goes with the hike. I immediately felt as though Vegas was a dream when I descended upon this hike. There is an energy in this place that is hard to describe, but you can feel this is one of the most special places on earth and all else is forgotten about the past days and just the now comes into the present.
There are numerous times on this trail I have to sit on my butt and scoot on up as the ice has taken over parts of the trail with huge exposure over the side of a thousand foot cliff. After the hike and sitting for a snack with some local deer I head over to the Virgin river who really earns its name with beauty and clarity it shows as I meander by myself along its shores just thinking back on the sheer differences between where I just was and where I am currently at. It makes me really think about life and the vast swings of energy that goes with it. It is really the pulse that keeps us all alive as you can’t have the highs without the lows and you can’t have the Ying without the Yang.