Its unusual to say or write but first night of Vegas was unusual as we didn’t indulge ourselves in any of the Vegas-centric night life. No bets. No casinos. No exotic food or drink. By the morning though, we were craving for some delicious breakfast to kick-off the long day on the road. Zeffer’s café, situated inside the Sahara hotel, provided much needed fulfillment and fill of Vegas. More of a brunch, my unique but deliciously full portion of Kellogg-crusted French toast with merciful drizzling of Nutella, powdered sugar and caramelized banana with peanut butter cream on the side was packed with more than enough calories to last whole day. My wife opted much toned down but equally effective avocado toast. We had planned to reach Grand Canyon village plaza inside Grand Canyon park by late evening so as to cover few spots such as Lake mead and Hoover dam on the way.
Before leaving the Vegas towards already charted out route taking us to lake Mead national recreation park, we stocked up on water, energy bars and some fruits (mostly apples) as on-the-go supply. Lake Mead is odd 31 miles from Vegas, 40 minutes by road. Temperature was in forties (Fahrenheits) around lake Mead, but cutting wind was sharp enough to take few more degrees away with it. Winter sun was like identical twin to its summer sibling but malnourished and feeble. It was shy enough to hide amongst wandering grey-white “bully” clouds. There was no forecast of rain though. All in all, nice winter weather not to hunkered up inside.
Economical mind says: Lake mead recreation area parkway entry fee will cost $30 per vehicle for a week. If you are like me, just passing through, then this cost might not seem too easy on your pocket. Try to utilize it with historical hikes and walks inside. Some of the vistas and views are for sure justify the cost.
You have not seen the vastness and barrenness of the wild nature if you have not experienced Arizona and Nevada. Not a soul to be seen apart from few winter-loving visitors like us on designated vista points throughout lake mead area. I am too harsh when I said barren. It was just the façade. Once you squint too keenly, you realize that its teeming with intrusion and activity, that white-red-shiny miniscule objects at far distance on the flatbeds are actually campers and RVs, you trot off to beaten path to be greeted by few other same-minded hikers, Small congregation of finch and sparrows fluttering and showing off their beautiful yellow and red throats and beaks, that small brownish floating splotch on simmering blue lake in the distant is small fishing boat. And if you decide, like us, to hike deeper towards edge of the lake via rocky and dusty trail, you will gratefully see the most cacophonous odd mix up of group of pelicans, sea gulls and American coots mingling in the water while many Great Grey herons and Great egrets relaxing at the edge. Refreshingly wild as well as soothingly relaxing.
Nature mind frets: Due to time constraint, we were not able to pay much attention to many trails on offer in Lake Mead recreational area. In summer when day time is longer, at least, you should attempt on famous historic railroad hiking trail that passes through 5 railroad tunnels.
After stopping and prowling many vista points easily accessible via road and a quick visit to visitor center, we exited from Lake Mead recreational area towards another popular visiting spot around Vegas, Hoover Dam. Hoover Dam is mere 15 minutes drive once you exit from Lake Mead visitor center on Boulder city parkway or US-93 BUS. Hoover dam is testimony of USA’s willpower to overcome harsh conditions, naturally as well as economically. This massive architectural edifice was built during great depression. Sight of massive concrete “slab” holding off the megatons of potential energy in the form of water of Colorado river amongst equally competent rock formations on the side has to be seen to be believed. It was so alien and advanced that Hoover dam was featured in lot many movies as great setup for high-end action pieces. Bridge passing in front of the dam with footpath for visitors gives great views of the dam from the front.
Informant mind suggests: Anyone want to dig deeper on many technological essays or historical articles can refer below official links.
While driving towards Grand Canyon park village on north rim of Grand canyon on US93, you’ll get chance to drive through historic and popular old route 66 instead of taking I-40. Route 66 is another pop-culture icon you might have witnessed one or the other way in popular media. If you are driving by day then drive towards Peach springs from famous town of Kingman and you get to drive on route 66 from Kingman to Seligman. Be vary that route 66 can be lonely, even during broad daylight. Plan your gas refueling well in advance and have your roadside assistance handy. Why I mentioned to drive on route 66 by day is when we started on route 66 from Kingman, daylight was already fading due to early sunset of December. For us, most of the historic route was doused in peach blackness only to be illuminated by our car’s headlight. Darkness gained entirely different sense and meaning when it comes to driving by route 66 or reaching the Grand canyon park. It was like drifting in space where it’s the kingdom of dark matter. Light was like distant starts, occasional and far between, with no hope to reach out to them. Or them to us.
After questing hard, returning back to the town, there’s nothing sweeter than muffled voices of merry and laughter seeping out of brightly lit tavern situated amongst snow landscape. We felt that same warm once we reached Grand Canyon park village and entered Yavapai tavern. Snow storm two days back had set up heartwarming Christmas setup for all visitors of Grand canyon. As we chose to stay inside village park itself (Yavapai lodge), we did not have much to worry about then just relaxing the chilled bones in the tavern and get ready for next beautiful sunlit day to enjoy most amazing and natural wonder if the world.
Day of visit: 21-Dec-2021