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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
Bruce Small, a leader for the 52 Peak Club, is the first hiker in the history of the 52 Peak Club to become a Quin 53er.
I asked him questions about what motivates him and his background. Below are Bruce's answers.
When did you join the 52 Peak Club? 1st hike was April 15th, 2017 with James Fuentes to Oak Creek Overlook in Red Rock Canyon.
Your current age? 64
When did you become a 53er (first time)? March 25, 2018....delayed 5 weeks because of my heart attack on January 10th, 2018, while hiking for my 48th card.
When and why did you become a leader for the 52 Peak Club?
WHEN.... I remember September of 2017 but I didn't lead my first, solo leader hike, until February 20, 2018, the 2nd chance hike back to Fortification Hill after my heart attack. I hiked a lot with Branch, Oz and Rob to learn routes after I became a leader. So, actual leading my first hike was in February 2018.
WHY...I was asked by several members to approach Branch about becoming a leader. In my career of 25 years, I was a manager for most of those years. I have always been one to encourage and teach those that want to learn. It is a great feeling when you see the smiling faces of hikers after they accomplish something they thought they would never be able to do. With a little encouragement, guidance, confidence building and willingness to learn from the person, most everyone can get there.
What is your motivation to become the first 5x 53er? Motivation?....it's a lifestyle for me. While I am helping people to achieve their goal of becoming the next 53er, they are helping me to attain my goals too.....keep active and healthy while doing what I love and helping others to do the same. The cards and decks help me to organize my goals.
What advice for those hikers who want to become a double or more 53er?
The journey doesn't end at one deck. The mountains don't disappear after that prize. The routes are numerous...try them all. Use the cards as a measurement of how you are doing in staying active and healthy.
Why is climbing peaks so alluring to you? I'm realizing that no matter how you phrase a question about my hiking, it comes back to one common thing....health, happiness, fun, friendships...goals. The benefit of the peak being there....it gives me a goal. The difficulty of the route boosts the accomplishments of the journey to the peak.
What life lessons have you learned since being a member of the 52 Peak Club?
Being healthy is number one. I truly believe that if I was still the corporate, sedentary, behind the desk man and eating things that I couldn't pronounce when I had my heart attack, I probably would not have survived. We are only given so many years to enjoy ourselves and I am embarrassed at times that I spent too many of them thinking that when I retire, I will get out and do all the exciting, fun, outdoor, healthy things.
Well, like I said, if I would have followed that thought process, I may not be here today to experience the happiness, fun, friendships and goals that I have. The hiking community is nothing like any other kind of club that I have been associated with in the past. The common thing that I hear from so many hikers, is that when they are hiking there is not a worry in the world that they need to deal with. All the stresses of their everyday life disappear and there is a calmness that comes about them. The laughs, commonality and friendships create nirvana. Try it! You'll like it!
This is Kathy's review of Colorado Aromatics Springtime Gold face cream.
She liked that the cream is organic and has all natural ingredients.
Her face looked brighter and more radiant after the first time she applied the cream.
It also moisturized her skin. She lives in Las Vegas where the climate is very dry.
Kathy has sensitive skin. Colorado Aromatics Springtime Gold face cream did not aggravate her skin like other face creams.
The face cream last a long time. After using it for one month, Kathy still has 60% left in her jar. It's very economical.
Kathy recommends Springtime Gold face cream and will continue to use it.
Colorado Aromatics Springtime Gold face cream is made for people who like the outdoors; however, sun, wind and weather can make your skin look dry and damaged.
It's a natural face moisturizer, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to restore skin that has been damaged from being outside. With peptides to support collagen production and reduce wrinkles.
To purchase Springtime Gold face cream go to this page: https://coloradoaromatics.com/product/face-care/springtide-gold/
Learn more about Colorado Aromatics Springtime Gold face cream and all their products at their website: https://coloradoaromatics.com/
It’s hard to separate sport from competition yet some of the most popular activities in the United States continue to resist anything more structured than personal goal-setting. Hiking, as ancient a challenge as there can be, is perhaps the best example of these gentle sports. After all, why would you run anywhere when you can walk? Competitive hiking, then, sounds like a contradiction in terms.
The Middle Ground
Defining the sport of competitive hiking is tricky. Completing routes at pace is far more likely to fall under the trail-running, marathon or ‘fastpacking’ umbrellas, while race walking, in which one of the competitor’s feet must be in contact with the ground at all times, has been an Olympic staple for more than a century of Games. Competitive hiking would therefore have to occupy a nebulous middle ground between these offshoots.
Local challenges do serve as a form of competition within the hiking niche. The Las Vegas Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge takes hikers up Mount Charleston and Mummy Mountain, among others, while similar events include routes up five to 52 peaks in Nevada. Fun, almost definitely, but these self-paced events are perhaps not something that major sporting bodies or the bookmakers will ever take seriously.
Still, unlikely sports are as numerous as traditional ones. Many bookmaker comparison sites list eSports (video gaming) as an up-and-comer in sports betting and TV broadcasting, and Statista forecasts growth in the industry to £1.6bn by 2024. Gaming site Betway also offers markets on niche sports such as martial arts, futsal, Gaelic football and floorball, suggesting that hiking’s lack of prime-time TV slots isn’t necessarily a turn-off for fans.
The time investment required for hiking challenges is significant – yet easily overcome with a multi-day format that either challenges hikers to cover the most ground in a certain amount of time (like in the 24hrs of Le Mans vehicle race) or sets a target peak as a per-day destination. Self- and leisurely-pacing is possible in both scenarios but the elimination aspect in the latter example encourages participants to challenge themselves.
Las Vegas is well placed to champion competitive hiking. There is a wealth of trails in the metro area, including Fire Wave and White Domes in the Valley of Fire, and Red Rock Canyon’s Calico Hills and Ice Box Canyon, and the city has already produced plenty of sporting icons, like Andre Agassi and NASCAR’s Bruton Smith. Vegas also hosts around 42.5m tourists per year, many of whom head into the hills and canyons of Nevada alongside the locals.
Of course, the question remains whether career hikers would have any interest in upping the pace or competing in a structured way. Regarded more as a vacation than a race to the finish, hiking can be a rare escape from work challenges and the day-to-day stress of living in Vegas. Even as a contradiction though, competitive hiking does present an opportunity both for the growth of the activity and for anybody who prefers a brisk pace.
This anti-water bottle is really a cool, foldable and extremely light water bottle. You can freeze it, attach it to your daypack via a carabiner that comes with it, and it's reusable.
It holds 34 oz. of water. There is a large size that holds 50 oz. of water.
I used it when I hiked to the summit of Kraft Mtn in Red Rock Canyon. It kept my water cold during my hike. Even though this was my first time drinking from it, there was no bad or plastic taste. It appears well made and it did not leak.
It's very easy to fill; you just twist off the top cap to fill it with your favorite beverage. The bottle has a good grip and will not slip out of your hands. It is also dishwater safe.
You can also customize your bottle with an image and text.
This is a no-brainer. If you need a water bottle this is one to get. It's so lightweight you will not notice the weight in your pack and it folds up to conserve space once it's empty.
It's only $11.99 and comes in different colors.
Get one here
I received a pair of Samsox Merino Wool Hiking socks to test. For my test I hiked to the summit of Northshore Peak in the Lake Mead area. This is a relatively easy hike: four miles with about 1,300 feet of elevation gain. It's a cross country hike mainly on rock.
I purposely wore an old pair of approach shoes with thinning soles. I wanted to see if the socks cushioned my feet as I hiked on the rock. They did!
Are socks important? Damn right they are important. It's your feet that get you to your destination and back to your car. Good hiking shoes and socks are a must.
First thing you will notice as you put on these socks is they have an amazing feel. They feel supportive and they fit great. The supportive feel comes from the material they are made from: 68% Merino Wool, 30% Nylon, and 2% Lycra Spandex.
The great fit comes from the socks being seamless which reduces bulk so the socks do not bunch up under your toes. The bottom of the sock is cushioned so you don't feel the rock as you hike or scramble.
Even though the main fabric is Merino Wool, the socks do not itch and again they are extremely comfortable.
One of the best features of the socks are they really wick moisture away from your feet. Your feet will feel better and when you take off your socks there's no bad odor! My socks and feet were dry after my hike!
Also, these socks are made in the USA! That means more jobs for Americans.
Bottom line: These are the best socks I have ever worn. I have been hiking for 25 years and gone through dozens of different socks.
How to Care for Your Socks
Machine or hand wash inside out in cold or warm water (not hot) and air dry for best results.
Cost: $29.99 for two pair of socks
To purchase: Click here
The sock come in black, grey, and oatmeal
In, twenty, or thirty years from now, we will have moments in our life’s stories that include the phrase, “2020 happened”. We will all nod our heads with a collective agreement about the events of this historic year. When 2020 happened we quarantined, one of my former fifth grade students took his life, my 13 year career as a classroom teacher morphed into distance learning, my husband lost employment when the CEO of the company was arrested for fraud*, and my father passed away a month before my visit for a birthday/end of chemotherapy celebration.
The challenges of the past year forced me to rediscover myself and evaluate my life’s purpose. I had conversations that were strikingly intimate, forgiving, and vulnerable. I didn’t want to become defined by circumstances but made stronger from them. My relationships with colleagues, friends, students, parents, and family were deepened. I learned who to lean on and who to let go because we couldn’t get past a surface-level connection. I rediscovered a confidence and determination I never realized had dwindled over the years.
I cannot say any of these realizations would have happened for me without (1) the help of an amazing, qualified therapist and (2) The 52 Peak Club. When 2020 happened, we recognized the need for trained mental health professionals during the mad rush for toilet paper, the volatile political climate, and The Tiger King. I want to show appreciation for the dark horse of my story...The 52 Peak Club.
I was recommended to The 52 Peak Club by a close friend because I loved to hike. Nature is my happy place. We agreed to join together, but my friend backed out. I would tease him a bit more about here, but his decision allowed me to develop new relationships with other club members.
I thought I was a competent hiker before the club. I quickly realized, near the top of Kraft Mountain in Red Rock, climbing peaks in Vegas was more challenging than I laughably assumed. I wore the wrong shoes for scrambling rocks (rookie mistake), huffed and puffed over boulders, was drenched in sweat, and became completely hooked after earning my first card that day. Scrambling encourages the use of physical and mental strength to problem solve while practicing mindfulness of yourself and surroundings at the same time. Unlike the gym, conquering a peak rewards you with an amazing sense of accomplishment and spectacular view.
I was more capable than I had been giving myself credit, and it took marching off into the wilderness with strangers to realize that. The 52 Peak Club is as much about the members and leaders as the goal to finish a deck. It still amazes that this encouraging and validating support system helped me recover my internal strength and confidence when I needed it most. I listened to other remarkable stories, laughed at jokes, posed for peak and ledge pics, and discovered the best buffets in Vegas are at the top. We were all at different levels, but we were a team and everyone’s accomplishment mattered.
I am halfway through my deck and holding each card brings memories and feelings of every accomplishment. They remind me how important it is to challenge the thoughts and assumptions I make out of fear or doubt. As I started to challenge myself, my life’s new purpose opened up and fell rather naturally into place. This month, I was accepted to the Educational Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. A peak that I might not have wanted to conquer before this club.
So now, my 52 Peak Club goal has a time-based goal attached. My hope is to finish my deck before my first semester. However, I know that I will still keep climbing peaks, challenging my thoughts and beliefs, and never forget the determination my father saw as inherently...
This is a quicker and more efficient way to White Pinnacle Gully. Follow First Creek Trail passing the turnoff for First Creek Waterfall. Continue on the trail as it turns into a path and spiderwebs. Stay near the wash, but do not cross it.
Soon the path ducks under the branches of a large tree: Landmark 1
Shortly you will see a ~3 foot high tree stump to the left of the trail: Landmark 2
Finally, you will see the reddish boulder in the photo below: Landmark 3
Cross the wash here. See the photo below.
You will ascend a very small hill after crossing the wash. Head NW about 50 yards where you will pick up a faint path. Follow this path the best you can. Although there are numerous paths, the direction of travel is now obvious: head for the slope that lies below White Pinnacle Gully
Being a renter rarely allows you to truly make your home nice and cozy and of all the things new homeowners can look forward to, making their home uniquely theirs is the most exciting! After all, isn’t that part of having a space of your own to do with as you’d like?
If you’re struggling with design ideas because you’ve never owned your own home and don’t know where to start, fear not! We asked some of the top real estate agents in Las Vegas what are the hottest current interior design trends they’re seeing in Sin City. Here are a few of their top picks.
1. Making the home scream, “I have personality!”
Perhaps the biggest trend homeowners are embracing is adding as much personality and charm they possibly can. Well, without going overboard of course! People are displaying their collections and favorite pieces of art throughout the home. They’re accessorizing with items that show off their personality - no matter how eclectic that may be.
A good rule of thumb to follow when doing this is to pick and choose your items so the space doesn’t look overwhelming and like there’s no thought put into it.
2. Bye-bye boring neutrals - hello broody and bold colors
We can’t count how many times home improvement shows proudly give homeowners a boring neutral palette. Sure, they may think it looks nice (and it does, don’t get us wrong), but there’s something about an all grey, white, and off white home that just feels so… Sterile and lacking personality.
Homeowners are embracing bold (and dark) colors. Deep shades of blue, grey, and even wallpaper with darker patterns are popping up everywhere - the walls, cabinets, floor tiles, furniture and the like.
If you’re worried about the dark colors going to make your space feel like a cave, you can always brighten things up with light colored furniture, drapes, accessories, and fixtures. Oh, and open up all of the windows for plenty of natural sunlight!
3. Different takes on the kitchen island
The kitchen island has been a big ticket item for homeowners across the country, but Las Vegans are especially into islands that go beyond the usual. For example, some folks love the look of a waterfall island where the sides are the same as the countertop. Others like the two-tiered island or the double island to add some entertaining space as well as visual interest.
4. Appliance hideaways for a sleek and uncluttered look
If you look in your kitchen, how many small appliances are taking up valuable space on your kitchen counters? We aren’t just talking about the toaster and coffee maker! The number of small appliances we have in our kitchens increased exponentially and the clutter is real.
Homeowners are vying for custom cabinets with plugs in the back so you can pull the device out whenever you need to without worrying about searching for a plug. Then once you’re done using it, you can hide it away until the next time.
5. Supporting local small businesses
The global pandemic that continues to ravage the country has put millions of small businesses out of business across the country. In an effort to help keep as many artisans and black-owned businesses operating, many homeowners are skipping the big box stores in favor of shopping locally. Although this isn’t necessarily a design trend, it is a socially conscious trend that affects everyone to some degree.
So, instead of buying that overpriced, poorly made bookshelf from a discount store, consider looking for a handmade piece from someone nearby. You could even look for items from small businesses online, on Etsy and even social media.
Trends tend to come and go, but if there’s anything you should keep in mind when decorating your home, it’s to do whatever makes you happy. So what if you want a neon green bathroom? Who cares if you want a leopard area rug in a white bedroom? This is your home and trends are just meant to give you inspiration!
Las Vegas has long been heralded as one of the most thrilling cities in the world. While gaming may be the main draw, there are countless other attractions to keep you entertained. Massive casinos may get all the attention, but here are some other great additions to your itinerary for when you're planning your next vacation to Las Vegas.
Attend a Home Game
For a long time, Las Vegas had to go without any major sports teams. The recently added ice hockey team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, was a major turning point. However, the addition of the Las Vegas Raiders has really put this city on the map.
After many lackluster seasons in Oakland, CA, the decision to move the team to this new market was met with both criticism and optimism. Now more settled, the Raiders are clearly turning it around. As the team gets acquainted with their new home and accustomed to their hopeful fanbase, their NFL betting odds are steadily increasing and they have started to build their offensive scheme.
Things are certainly looking up for the once bottom-tier team, and the community here is thrilled to have them. If you are planning a vacation to Las Vegas, a trip to the Raider's home stadium for a game should definitely be on your to-do list.
Take a Food Tour
One thing that may shock your average traveler is just how great of a food city Las Vegas really is. Sure, you may have heard all about the prime rib buffets that are a staple on the Strip, but there is a lot more to dig into in this city.
To start off, there is Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant made famous by the television show and Ramsey’s signature outbursts. Luckily, all you will have to endure here is fantastic 5-star cuisine and amazing plating that is perfect for your Instagram pictures. Their beef wellington is highly recommended.
Next is the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, known for its breathtaking view of the city that you can enjoy as you get started tucked in to their three courses dinners. This is an intimate and romantic venue, perfect for a date, and the menu is divine. With roasted racks of lamb, foie gras, caviar and more, this is a dinner you will certainly remember.
Las Vegas is absolutely full of great dining experiences like this. Regardless of your budget, you can certainly find something that is perfect for you. Don’t forget about their food tours that will take you through many different streets to sample a wide array of treats and beverages.
Dive Into Vegas History
For those who are less interested in gaming and more interested in the lore and history of Las Vegas, there are many different attractions and tours that would suit you better. Las Vegas is a marvelous city with a rich story to tell, and the details are everywhere waiting to be explored. From the iconic buildings to the well known landmarks, you can make an entire day trip centered around visiting these great locations.
Aside from the Las Vegas Strip and the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, there are some more landmarks that you must see. The Mirage Volcano is a great free attraction for everyone in the area. A few times every evening you will see this volcano erupt, with accompanying music. The Fountains of Bellagio is another must-see for visitors to the city, and also has elaborate light and water shows every night for tourists. Another well known spot, the Stratosphere Tower, is a popular fixture on the Las Vegas skyline that provides a 360 degree view of the magnificent strip and nightlife.
Of course, for those who want a real trip down memory lane, there are some places that cater more to history buffs. The Neon Museum is dedicated to preserving the remnants of old Las Vegas among an ever-changing landscape. Here you will find an assortment of signs and promotions that were present in the older days of this city. There is also the interesting Mob Museum, a provocative collection of exhibits that pay tribute to and honors the infamous founding history of this city and mafia activity across the US. In addition, it’s always worth taking a visit to some of the oldest casinos in the city like The Flamingo, to really get a sense of the classic Las Vegas appeal.
Helicopter Rides Around the Area
One popular attraction that goes right over the head of most tourists, and often gets overlooked by residents too, is the Las Vegas helicopter tours. They are very enjoyable and definitely within your budget. What better way to see the strip lit up at night than by a helicopter tour that circles the city? In addition to this, you can book a day trip that will take you to the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, to the gorgeous hot springs around Lake Mead and more. This is truly the adventure of a lifetime and something far different than the norm.
The Incredible Live Entertainment
Of course, what would this city be without the world renowned live entertainment? The amazing thing is that regardless of what you are interested in, there are plenty of different shows to satisfy you. There is something for every price range and most shows have more than one performance per night!
First off is the classic magic shows. Penn & Teller have been performing here for years, and they still regularly bring sold out crowds. David Copperfield is one of the most famous and certainly among the wealthiest magicians alive. His Las Vegas show has run nonstop for 13 years and counting. For the more modern crowd, Criss Angel is another popular magic show here that is always worth checking out.
One name that you have undoubtedly heard many times in your life is the world famous Cirque du Soleil. This entertainment company has been thrilling crowds for decades and regularly has massive performances in Las Vegas. The best thing about this group is they are constantly changing up their performances, bringing in fresh new acts and taking the entire evening in an entirely new direction.
From music, to comedy, performing arts and more, Las Vegas has plenty of live events that will keep you coming back time and time again.
I was an abused child. My father, a drug addict and alcoholic with bipolar disorder, hurt me physically, verbally, and mentally. Growing up in this environment impacted me deeply. As a teenager and young adult, I found I had adopted my father's pattern of violence, and I struggled to free myself from his legacy.
I remember the first time I held my newborn son and looked into his innocent eyes. That was the moment my life changed. The realization that I didn't know how to be a father or a husband terrified me. In that instant, I made a promise that violence would not define me, nor would it destroy my family. I immediately embarked on a journey of counseling, reading, and personal development, committed to becoming the best father and husband I could be.
If not for that defining moment, I can’t imagine what my life would be like today. It has been the driving force motivating me to break the chain of violence that dominated my family tree for generations.
SafeNest, Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence, has created programs designed to intentionally guide children down the path that I accidently stumbled upon.
We need these programs now more than ever. Since the onset of the pandemic, domestic violence rates have surged in Clark County. Requests for SafeNest services have increased by 150%, and the level of abuse has escalated as individuals and families struggle to stay afloat in this new world made worse by isolation, stress, economic anxiety, lack of resources, and substance abuse.
SafeNest is meeting the challenge, increasing the number of shelter beds; moving education, counseling and case work to an online platform; providing public service announcements in English and Spanish to support victims and family members; and working with courts and Southern Nevada Legal Aid to get Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) completed by phone.
None of this is easy. Or inexpensive. Satisfying the growing demand for services and support takes life-saving contributions from caring individuals like you, as well as families and corporations.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. When you now "Invest in the Nest", your generous donation will be matched up to $10,000!
The deadline is the end of the day on Thursday, October 15. Please join me in supporting SafeNest as we work diligently to navigate a very different funding landscape. Let’s use our passion to change the world starting right here, right now!
Thank you from all of us at SafeNest and, more importantly, thank you from those we serve.
Donations are tax deductible. Please forward this email to family, friends, colleagues, and businesses who may want to join in supporting this great cause.
Chief Executive Officer
Network Security Associates, Inc.
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV