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Published: February 9th 2009
Wednesday 28th January 2009
This was my first hike with an organised group. Las Vegas has many hiking and outdoor groups. I found that group and many other interesting groups (including the UFO spotters) through meetup.com
I met up at the Hacienda Casino on the SW side of Vegas (about 45min drive from our home). It is on the road to the Hoover Dam, only a few miles before the dam.
The group consisted of Jeff the guide and about 6 or 7 other hikers. We drove down to the trail head, and started off in to the valley. It wasn't the prettiest valley I have ever seen. Part way down was the wreck of a car that had left the road high above. I talked with Jeff, about how he makes a living as a professional poker player. It turns out he is a spitting image of my friend Adam - and when he started telling me about his feelings about conspiracy theories it just got even eerier - they are twins brought up in two different continents! They must meet! ;-) I also met a guy called Tom, who I also got on very well with and
have hiked with since.
At points the hiking required using ropes to help lower yourself down (and get back up on the way back) but was not strenuous.
We finally got to the first of a few 'natural' spa pools. I had been given warnings about possibly catching the deadly Naegleria fowleri from the water. But I was told that if the water is not stagnant and is hot (rather than warm) then you will be fine. More info for those who want it: http://www.birdandhike.com/Hike/LAME/Goldstrike/Naegleria.htm
. The spas are also known for clothing optional...
Before we got in the pools we carried on down a bit further to meet the Colorado River. The plan was to wade up the river a bit to a man-made cave with an usual translucent rock formation made from water and salt. But the water level was much too high and the water flow too high - the Dam releases water periodically, but apparently this was much higher than usual. Perhaps due to rain fall earlier in the week. See the video
So instead we went back to the spas and got in to one with a cave at the back. You
have to put your head under to get to it - so hold your nose/breath out through it as you do. There were also used candle wax all over the side walls - people camp out down there and sit in the pools all night looking up at the stars - sounds fantastic!
The water was great (not smelly like some natural spas I have been to) and we stayed and chatted for a while - a few other groups and individuals were also down there - we were all chatting and relaxing - very nice vibes. Tom told me about a hike to a place called Bridge Mountain, in the Red Rock area. I had read about this hike before and was keen to go, so we planned to head up the next day.
After a while we retraced our steps back up to the cars. It was early afternoon and Jeff & Tom were going for lunch in nearby Boulder City, but I thought I better get home and catch up with some chores - I feel a bit guilty if Lisa works all day and then comes home to have to do laundry/washing up etc.
I'm not too keen taking photos when I'm in a group as I hate to feel like I am holding anyone up - so for much better photos of the spa pools see here
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