Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2012 WSOP, Day 31: Hot Rocks

Red Rock Canyon entranceAfter five straight 12-14 hour days at the Rio helping cover WSOP events, I finally had a day off on Tuesday and so took the opportunity to steer clear of it all and try to recharge the mental batteries a little.

My buddy F-Train is in town this week, and he suggested taking a quick trip up to Red Rock Canyon to walk around and see the sights. Besides getting an opportunity to visit with him, I was also keen both to get out of the city (and off the grid) as well as to see Red Rock, which I’d never visited before.

Red Rock is about 15 miles west of Vegas, a large national conservation area taken up by huge rock formations. It is surrounded by a 13-mile loop that you drive around counterclockwise, with lots of stops along the way to see sights and/or get out and do some hiking on the various trails.

Take a look at these handsAs we drove the rocks stood out majestically, of course, although the sandy landscape was striking as well with the many tree stumps sticking up and looking not a little like hands reaching up out of the ground.

We ended up stopping at one of the first trails along the way, the one that takes you up to see the Calico Tanks, a natural tank which was dry this time of year.

From the roadThe hike up was described in the visitor guide as "moderate" (not "strenuous"), a characterization F-Train echoed as he's been to Red Rock many times before. We're talking about 2.5 miles or so round trip (perhaps more), taking about an hour to climb up and a bit less than than to get back down.

It was hot, and much of the walk found us in direct sunlight. I was definitely winded by the time we made it to the top, realizing that despite all the hours on my feet and running around the Rio I could probably be in better shape for such excursions. The hike wasn't exactly treacherous, although it was necessary to pay attention when seeking stable footing.

The view from the topWas well worth it, though, to enjoy the many striking sights along the way as well as the view of Vegas from the top.

Among the topics we discussed while up there was the obvious one -- just how weird a place Las Vegas really is, and the utter discontinuity between where we sat and what lay below.

Red rocksWill be moving back out of the warm, bright sun and into the cold, relatively dark Rio once again today to help cover Day 2 of Event No. 47, the $1,500 PLO/8 event where I imagine I’ll see lots of heaping pots, split down the middle. Kind of like those rocks we were climbing over yesterday.

Take a trip over today when you’re not seeing how Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is doing in the Poker Players Championship (currently leading with 26 left).

And please, watch your footing.

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