Las Vegas, the city of fun, fantasy and mischief, was our destination place twice this past winter. We casually admired the glitz, glamour and evening adventures that visitors often come to enjoy while in Las Vegas. The admiration of everything shiny was limited to our to-and-fro our weekend lodging, however, because our weary and heavy hearts were reserved for more personal reasons. McKay, our dear sister-in-law, entered hospice care during her final days on earth.
Before we parted ways for the last time, she and my brother compiled a list of sightseeing activities for my family and me to check out during our Las Vegas stay. McKay wanted us to see the Las Vegas through the eyes of the Nevada locals. She specifically narrowed down her list of places to see to those that were kid-friendly and/or distinctly Old-Nevada. It was unfortunate that she could not come with us on this one unusually pleasant beautiful November weekend; her pain-management care immobilized this once alive and free-moving person to that of an almost 24-hour Sleeping Beauty.
We were indeed determined to appreciate Las Vegas through her vantage point, so after we left her home so that McKay could rest, we reviewed the list of places McKay and my brother wanted us to see and, thus began our “local” Las Vegas adventures.
Red Rock Canyon was the first destination place we visited that breezy afternoon. Part of the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon is a conservation area located 15 miles west of Las Vegas. Large red rock formations, sandstone peaks and walls, as well as hiking trails, rock climbing areas and a 13 mile long, one-way loop road for bicycle touring and scenic automobile drives, makes for an awesome adventure and destination place for these California visitors.
Something magical happens whenever we are blessed with the beauty of Mother Nature. For me, visiting Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon for the first time brought a brief sense of serenity. Maybe this was what McKay intended for us when she suggested we visit Red Rock Canyon first, that we are to be reminded that there is something bigger than us out there and however we might try to control our lives or our reactions to the uncontrollable, sometimes you just have to stop… let go… and magically, the petty and insignificant distractions in life will be replaced by the beauty that surrounds us.
McKay Duyan passed away from ovarian cancer on November 17, 2016, four days after our short visit with her. I will remember her love for the simple things in life and of her appreciation of how she was strong in her spiritual faith, even on her last days. I will also have her in mind and spirit whenever I go on an outdoor adventure, and will strive to relax and enjoy Mother Nature.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
1000 Scenic Loop Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89161
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