Summer is almost here, and with it comes an air of spontaneity! I find that there is nothing like a spur of the moment day trip to brighten your spirits and gain some much-needed inspiration.
There’s an oasis less than an hour from the Las Vegas city center, where lush trees cover the sides of soaring mountains and crystalline water reflects the warm sun. I’m fortunate enough to live a stone’s throw from this beauty, and I try to take a trip to Mount Charleston at least twice a year. The valley of the Spring Mountains is perfect for biking, hiking, some rock climbing, and camping. During the snowy months, you can ski at Lee Canyon down powdery slopes of brilliant white.
Each time, I’m enchanted by the mini hikes and the views. I’ve been there several times since I arrived in Las Vegas in 1993, and have since made it a tradition to stop at the Hotel first to see what changes have occurred. I always walk around the property and enjoy the sights, watching the high peaks and cedar trees as they reach toward the sky.
Along with the views, there is a large outdoor patio seating area and a small bridge walkway to the front entrance. I have spent a lot of time just at the outside entrance, where a small and tranquil pond houses many birds and ducks. Inside the hotel is a large round lobby; to the left is the snack shop, stairs to other floors, restrooms, and the bar around the corner. After that comes the registration desk, and the restaurant entrance opens for lunch or dinner during the summer. Then the grand fireplace, where a cozy fire burns all year.
The grand tour finishes as you return back to the entrance. You’re greeted by a taxidermy standing bear to remind you that you’re not in Vegas! Here you are surrounded by wood, varying taxidermy, and intricate antler chandeliers. In the middle of all of it is seating for anyone. The space is open to the public, to view, relax, or kick back and watch one of the large screen TVs.
About 20 minutes up the road is the lodge. It’s open 24 hours a day, serving unique food and drinks. I was told years ago they were known for their famous Mt. Charleston coffee, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. They serve over 12 different coffee drinks–all with alcohol and all delicious! With the lodge perched on the mountainside, you can walk around and explore most of it or sit down to enjoy your coffee. I always sit outside to soak up the full experience.
After the lodge, I usually drive up the mountain and find a place to pull over and go for a moderate hike. Regardless of where you decide to stop off, the view is spectacular. As you eventually descend the mountain, your path can branch off into residential areas–like small cul-de-sacs or steep driveways–that are often private dead ends. Or for further exploration, you can head over to Lee Canyon, which is about 20 minutes to the north. It is open to the public all year. It’s packed during ski season, but it seems to be all yours in the vibrant summer. Lastly, you can head back to the desert mirage known as Las Vegas.
If you find this trip as inspiring as I did, check out some of my new work available now on my Etsy and my website! I love pulling enthusiasm from the brilliant places I visit and putting it into my creative work. You can find vivid, colorful, and warm paintings and bookmarks in my shop, ready to celebrate the summer heat.
Congratulations to [INSERT GIVEAWAY WINNER HERE] for winning the May giveaway! June is here with a brand new giveaway on my Facebook page and a chance to win big. Just like or comment on the monthly giveaway post to enter. A winner will be chosen on June 30th at 3pm PST live on my page, so tune in and see if you’re the lucky one!
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Take the opportunity to “get away” for a while, whether you go for a walk around the block, drive a few hours, or fly across the world. Adventure is out there and waiting!