Las Vegas From Space
Astronaut photograph ISS026-E-6255 was acquired on November 30, 2010, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using an 180 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=47687
A young member of our family expressed his reluctance to visit our main destination by calling it “just a big hole in the ground.” Those of us who had seen the Grand Canyon smiled at one another and made no response.
Before leaving Las Vegas, where more family members flew in to join us, we drove down the famous strip. Among other things, there was a depiction of Camelot, dinosaur statues, and even a building of glass that shone golden in the sun. We stopped to explore the Luxor. More an experience than a hotel, the Luxor is shaped like a sphynx and pyramid. Besides hotel rooms it contains giant Egyptian statues, fountains, a food court, shopping mall, restaurants, and probably more than I had time to take in. We dined at an Irish pub where the waitress asked, “And what will yourself be having?” She leaned a little too close to my husband, John, and called him “Darlin’.” I’d already noticed men turning their heads to watch the women of our party. Although a roller coaster wound through Camelot, this was after all “Sin City.”
We didn’t see the strip lighted at night, but images taken from the international space station show Las Vegas as the brightest place on earth. Within that bright city, the strip shines with greatest force. These images literally show light that is lost in space, and therefore wasted. Since I prefer my nights dark, I was a little relieved when we left the big city for the long, hot drive to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Along the way we encountered a thunderstorm and even drove beneath arcing lightning at a place called, appropriately enough, 2-mile wash. Inquisitive creature that I am, I wondered how the voltage of a single lightning bolt compared to the luminosity of Las Vegas.
We drove out of the storm and through miles of wilderness where deer herds grazed in misty meadows. We ‘d lingered so long in Las Vegas we worried about getting our tents up before dark, so we didn’t stop to take photos, but I managed to catch a decent photo of the forest by rolling down the car window as the car slowed.
Grand Canyon Forest © Janalyn Voigt
We set up our tents in the dark.
In the morning it was time to explore that big hole in the ground and rearrange the thinking of a jaded young traveler. We hiked to Bright Angel Point in the heat, but the stunning views were worth the effort.
Grand Canyon Path to Bright Angel Point © Janalyn Voigt
Grand Canyon North Rim Beauty © Janalyn Voigt
North Rim Grand Canyon © Janalyn Voigt
John pointed out a power line impossibly strung from the north rim down into the canyon. This puzzled us until he figured out that it must supply energy to the North Rim lodge from Hoover Dam. We puzzled over how such a feat had been accomplished and ventured various theories from use of a crane to the wire being hand-carried through the canyon.
We spent the night huddled in our tent, which we’d moved to the south rim, as thunder shook the ground and lightning flared above the thin fabric separating us from the storm’s fury. We weathered the night without getting wet, but others of our party weren’t so fortunate. More views compensated for our wild night.
Grand Canyon with Colorado River Bends © Janalyn Voigt
Grand Canyon South Rim Switchback Path for the Daring © Janalyn Voigt
- Grand Canyon South Rim Contours © Janalyn Voigt
The force that created the Grand Canyon, the Colorado river, still threads through the canyon, but now Hoover Dam regulates its flow, directing once-untamed waters to create energy–energy to power Las Vegas.
Escape into Creative Worlds!
Click the image for the secure sign-up form to receive posts as they publish and/or the monthly Creative Worlds newsletter. Janalyn Voigt updates readers with travel journals, tidbits from her research, details about her books, author journals, and more. As a subscriber, you’ll receive exclusive content plus advance notification of Janalyn’s book releases, contests, and giveaways.
When he called the Grand Canyon “just a big hole in the ground,” we smiled (Click to Tweet).
#TravelJournal: Thunder and lightning on a road trip from Las Vegas to the #GrandCanyon (Click to Tweet).
#RoadTrip from the brightest place on Earth to the deepest (Click to Tweet).
“It was time to rearrange the thinking of a jaded young traveler (Click to Tweet).”
Thunder shook the ground & lightning flared above the thin fabric separating us from the storm’s fury (Click to Tweet).
(Grand Canyon Road Trip in sequential order)
Travel Journal: Washington to Oregon (Grand Canyon Road Trip #1)
Travel Journal: Oregon to California (Grand Canyon Road Trip #2)
Travel Journal: Road to Yosemite (Grand Canyon Road Trip #3)
Travel Journal: Ghost Town in the Shadow of the Sierra Nevadas (Grand Canyon Road Trip #4)
Travel Journal: One Big Hole in the Ground (Grand Canyon Road Trip #5)
Travel Journal: Strange Bedfellows (Grand Canyon Road Trip #6)
Travel Journal: Start of a Very Long Day (Grand Canyon Road Trip #7)
Travel Journal: Middle of a Very Long Day (Grand Canyon Road Trip #8)
Travel Journal: End of a Very Long Day (Grand Canyon Road Trip #9)
Travel Journal: Sam Hill’s Stonehenge (Grand Canyon Road Trip #10)
Travel Journal: Shipwrecked (Grand Canyon Road Trip #11)
©2013 by Janalyn Voigt
Subscribe to the Creative Worlds newsletter and/or blog!