I love Las Vegas.Yeah, I know. It’s kind of odd. But it’s not what you think. I’m not out there clubbing, stumbling around in hooker heels and dresses that would fit my 12 year-old daughter. I have fun watching those that do. But that’s about as close as I get.

As I’ve shared on here before, I go to Vegas for the diversity of the food (especially off Las Vegas Blvd.), the bedding at the Wynn, the $18.00 30-minute foot massages in Chinatown and the seedy strip malls where even the CVS has slot machines. And did I mention the food. (Le Thai’s pork jerky is my new weakness.)

But I also go for the different terrains. The desert, the canyons and the mountains. You can go from one to the other in less than 45 minutes. I can’t get any of that in South Florida.When I was out in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, taking Steve Wynn for some coinage on the 25 cent video poker machines, the day time temperature on the Strip was in the high 70s. So we decided to head out of town, to cooler environs.

We woke up early one morning, watched the sunrise outside our panoramic window, and headed off on a hike in the Spring Mountains, 40 minutes outside of the city.

sunrise

We picked the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead because the parking lot at our first choice, Mary Jane Falls, was under construction. And this trail, ending in a spring, seemed challenging enough for us to work up a sweat without punishing us for drinking too many gratis Stolis on the rocks at the casino the night before.

trailhead sign

The temperature was a little cool (48 degrees) when we started out and the sky was a little cloudy. I’m a Florida wimp so I was a little concerned even though I was wearing gloves.

cloudy

And there was even some snow on the ground.

snow

Then the sun came out and the sky turned a beautiful shade of blue.

blue sky

We saw all sorts of amazing deadwood “sculptures”.

deadwood sculpture

deadwood 2

And enjoyed ourselves in the quiet, temporarily forgetting that not too far away were the crowds, the casinos and the noises of the Strip.

When we were done with our hike, we drove back in to town, stopping at Cafe de Japon and indulging in, among other things, lightly fried curried oysters and this dessert: Butter pears poached in Cabernet and Port, served with chunks of Gorgonzola cheese.

cafedejapon

Who am I kidding? It is all about the food.