Thursday, June 22, 2017
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Since my arrival in Las Vegas on May 1st, 2017 my primary project has been to start a catalog of outdoor activities that the city of Las Vegas offers it's local residents and visitors who care to venture off of The Strip and out of the casinos. I have now visited 5 city parks and hiked City View Trail. It has purposely been a slow start on this project because of the heat and because getting settled into a residency here in Las Vegas is a major project.
Here are photos from 3 of the parks that I have visited. Vivaldi Park, Sonata Park and Pucinni Park are all connected by Seven Hills Trail. This trail is a 2.5 loop trail, but there are side trails that take you through the surrounding neighborhoods. All of the trails seem to be paved. The All Trails web site says the trail is good for all levels, but I have learned quickly that even the ease of any path depends on your stamina. Keep a bottle of water with you. To get to Seven Hills Trail and all three parks take the St. Rose Parkway to Seven Hills Trail Drive. Stay on Seven Hills Drive. You will see the entrance to Vivaldi Park on your right. Continuing on you will find Sonata Park on your left, and finally Pucinni Park is on your right just before Seven Hills Trail Drive ends in a "T" with itself. It seems that almost 3/5 of Seven Hills Trail slopes fairly gently upward, 1/5 of the trail is a steep climb, and 1/5 is that downward slope that you always wanted to ride your bike down when you was a kid, so hang on and go for it.
One last item: You can start your walks at any of the three parks. They are all interconnected. And, you can do what I have done by taking 3 separate days to visit three separate parks. I now plan to return to these parks and start taking the trails that extend out through the surrounding neighborhoods.
This scene is from the adjoining neighborhood to the east of Vivaldi Park. I clicked this photo as I exited the site on my way home. The park has fantastic views of the city of Las Vegas, Henderson Executive Airport, and the mountains that surround Las Vegas Valley.
Sonata Park would, I think, be the smallest of the 3 parks. It's major points of interest is the large grassy field and this children's park. When the day is done this park is well used by locals of the neighborhood.
This, in the red, is Seven Hills Trail. The greed dot is Pucinni Park. Following the red line to the left of Pucinni Park will eventually take you to Vivaldi Park in the area of the two red dots that are close together. In figure #1 you can see the trail (in red) as it continues southeastward and hooks up with Seven Hillls Trail Drive. This is where the steep hill begins. But, the downhill side is a refreshing walk.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
It was a spur of the moment decision if it was a decision at all. I had planned to spend the evening at home playing the guitar and watching television. I’m not even sure what made me click the button to get off of the internet, but the next thing I knew I was in my car and gone. Twenty minutes later I was parked at the bottom of a mountain taking photos of and looking around at my surroundings.
City View Trail is a private property owned my Sun City Mac Donald Ranch Community Association. It is a big hill at the edge of a large housing development. Facing the hill there were nice home to my left, to my right, and behind me. There looked to be nothing on the hill but desert bushes, boulders, rocks, gravel and a path that I knew from experience as a teenager that someone had worked very hard cutting through those rocks to build. The trail is only 1.2 miles long, and rated as a moderate walking trail. I was about to learn that the write-ups on this trail may have been factual for an 18 year old athlete fresh out of Marine boot camp, but it was far from factual for a 68 year old flat lander heart patient.
I had walked less than 500 yards on a trail that headed upward and southward for about 150 yards before turning back to the north and going further upward for about another 300 yards, turning south and doing it again. By the time I had gone about 500 yards I was about 150 feet above where I had parked my car, and taking heavy breaths. The walk was something like stairs climbing up the side of a 300 story building, but in the winter time and fighting snow and ice on the stairs. Here is where I made my first of three stops to take photos and catch my breath. There was a fourth and fifth stop before I reached the top. I would like to say that it was for taking photos, but the truth is it was more for catching my breath than anything else. It was at the fourth stop that I started asking myself, “What am I doing here?” When I reached the top I was looking for a level place to lay down and die.
I clicked off a few photos along the way and at the top as I marveled at the scenery below me. But, all the while I was thinking that if any of them turned out decent I would be lucky. My whole body was shaking, and I was wondering how in the world I was going to get back down that mountain. But, when I saw where the sun was at on the horizon I knew I had to get going back down.
And that is where I made another mistake. Instead of heading down the long, winding path I had hiked up I chose to descend the back side of the mountain on a narrower path that turned out to have about 20 places where the path seemed to end with a 3 foot jump downward to where it started again. But, about 2/3 of the way down that mountain my legs gave out on me on one of the jumps, and I landed on my butt with my camera held above my head in an effort to save it from harm. I stopped here for about five minutes to whether I should try to use my phone to call for help. My body was trembling, and as I tried to stand up I found that my legs were as wobbly as Jello. But, I did not make the call. Instead I clung to bull headed strength and my faith in God (yes, I was praying) to get me through this ordeal. Besides, there was a sign at the beginning of the path that said my car would be towed at owner’s expense if it was still there after dusk.
A few more minutes later on legs that wobbled like my second day of navy boot camp I rounded a turn in the trail and found myself looking less than a 100 yards out to a paved street. I had made it.
Coming in at McCarran International Airport
Like I said at the beginning of this writing, it may have been a moderate walk for those who do it often. Maybe someday I will know that I am right when I say that for a 68 year old man that retired from a sedentary life sitting behind the steering wheel of a truck it was pure Hell. And, I am happy that I made it, and proud of accomplishing the walk. It was the happiest I have been for several years. It was the first of what I hope to be many more paths I walk. I learned a lot about myself, and about what I could expect from the walks that are ahead of me. Isn’t that what life is all about?
My name is Keith Birmingham. I click as a photographer, journalist and writer. I busk as a musician, singer, and songwriter. I travel as a photographer, and musician. My home base is Las Vegas, Nevada. I own Better World Media, a corporation dedicated to my life passions of music, photography, and travel. http://bw702.blogspot.com/
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Packing to move home to Vegas. Time flies when you are having fun. I am not having fun. I was told to throw everything away that I have not used in the last 2 years. For the most part I can do that. What I can't sell will land in the trash. I may have until the 18th of May to leave this apartment, but I hope that in the next couple of day I will find out that I can leave before the 1st of May.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
School starts in early May. My son plans to begin attending UNLV this coming semester. Unless that plan changes we should be leaving Oklahoma to relocate to Las Vegas sometime around the last week of April. So, it is now time for me to update this blog for the businesses we plan to work with in Las Vegas. For the past year I have been slowly collecting information that we will need in our adventures. I am now building this web around the world travel services and specialized concierge services we plan to offer once we are established in Las Vegas. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of bigger and better things to come. For now I will be posting travel photos and short articles about our backgrounds while I am updating this blog.
Learn to travel. Travel to learn.