Me and my 7-month old son Ren were left to fend for ourselves during Susie's annual trade show in Las Vegas.
Even though we lived in Vegas for years, every trip down there, I discover something new.
I was surprised to learn from an online hiking guide that a number of unique slot canyons exist around Lake Mead. Unique because they are not carved into red sandstone like the narrow canyons of southern Utah, but rather they are formed in well-cemented alluvial-fan sand and gravel. Essentially a conglomerate rock that lacks the vivid colors of more famous slots, but produces some outstanding textures.
I figure it's never too soon to get your kids into canyoneering, so I snagged the baby backpack and some diapers and headed east toward the lake.
Ren was awfully quiet during the 2-hour hike and didn't make a peep. I was pretty sure this was a good sign that he was enjoying himself, but since I couldn't see his face while strapped to my back, occasionally I'd point my camera over my shoulder and snap a photo to try and gauge his mood. In most photos, he appeared a bit concerned, but he must not have been too stressed because toward the end of the hike I could feel the backpack go out of balance with Ren slumped to one side, and a little later came his soft little snore.
Above: There is something about perfectly symmetrical patterns that really mess with me. A few steps into this drainage tunnel, and I started to feel wheezy and had to back out.
Above: To access the slot, you must cross the now-dry lake shore which is full of fresh-water clam shells.
The next morning I got in an early-morning bike ride out at Cottonwood Canyon-- one of my favorite places to watch the sun rise.