Thursday, February 13, 2014

Las Vegas: The Start of your Grand Circle Adventure

Is Las Vegas just all about the Las Vegas Strip?

The Strip @ Las Vegas Blvd 

The Las Vegas strip is about 4.2 miles of Las Vegas Blvd (above picture ) where it has many of the world's largest hotels, resorts and casinos. This vibrant city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. 

I still remember when I was just visiting the US, and I was entertained by my fellow Filipino friends. My first day was going to Disneyland, and the 4th day was going to Las Vegas.

Though there is so much to do in Las Vegas other than gaming, but my friends told me that: "you have never been to Vegas if you have not played in the casino and/or the slots!" So, following their advise, I used our hotel's coupons to get some coins, and whoa! I won $4.00!! My friends asked me to continue, but I told them, I am so happy with my $4.00, and if I stay longer inside, I will be very sick. I frankly can't stand staying indoor, much more inside a smoky casino ( gives me bad headache and migraine), especially when on vacation.  

Fountain @ Belagio choreographed to light and music

I was the visitor, so, despite my friends wanted to continue playing in casino but their generosity made them go out with me to explore the "alive" and "vibrant" Las Vegas. We cruised the strip, and walking the 4.2 mile long Las Vegas took too long a time because we had so many stops.

That time, being an unknowing tourist, I was simply following what my friends told me that Hollywood, Disneyland, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York are must do for US trips. So, I went to all of them! Haha! When I shared the must do list coming from Philippines to one of my friends (also a Filipino) but who mostly spent her years in US, she felt very sad and disappointed that that's how most outsiders see US, more in the side of commerce than in the side of natural treasures. For her, the real beauty of US and "must do" are: "Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Big Sur, Big Sur, and Big Sur!" Haha! Actually her list was supported by my colleagues and students when I was in Connecticut. They were surprised that I have not been to "Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Big Sur, and Big Sur". 

One of my students in Connecticut before told me, "You've been to Las Vegas but have not been to Grand Canyon? You should really see Grand Canyon! That place, MADE ME CRY!" For them, it was like, "how come you can go to Las Vegas, but skipped the most glorious part of US, the Grand Canyon?" Most my colleagues back then in Connecticut told me when I left for California, "Elizabeth, see to it that you experience BIG SUR! It's a must see and must experience, Heaven on Earth! "
Grand Canyon. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Big Sur and Big Sur

I did not understood them back then for I haven't been to those places, and saw only mostly the "city" parts of US. Only when hubby showed me those places that I understood the passion behind their words when they say: "You haven't seen the real beauty of US if you haven't been to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Big Sur, Big Sur, and Big Sur!" I must admit, I am now a "Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Big Sur, Big Sur, and Big Sur!" kind of gal

Like those special people who first introduced to me these places, I wish, those who visit US would spend also some time to experience these marvelous creations.... the priceless beauty of Planet Earth. 

My hubby showed me what I failed to see when I was just a tourist in this country before: the magnificence of the desert landscapes around Las Vegas. 
Las Vegas Backroads Desert Wonderland

When I was still in the Philippines, my idea of desert is a wasteland, and my idea of Las Vegas is a "sin city". Never would have I thought that there is more to Las Vegas than just a plain "sin city", and the wasteland is actually a land of mind boggling gems of desert landscapes. 

Hiking @ Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Our first Grand Circle exploration blew me away. It was then, that I started seeing the desert in a totally different light, and started seeing the beauty in barrenness. I realized, Earth does not always have to be clothed with trees to be beautiful. It was only then, that I started to appreciate Las Vegas, when I saw its true beauty, hidden in the backroads, that sadly or happily, about 98% who had been to Las Vegas did not see. 

Stark Naked Earth, Death Valley National Park 
( though this park is within California, but it is actually closer to Las Vegas than any other cities, haha!)

The Grand Circle has been our nearby favorite adventure destination, where Las Vegas has become a convenient stop over for us, combining both adventure and entertainment activities, because we both love watching concerts and theater plays too. At present, one of my adventure goals in the Grand Circle is to hike Grand canyon Rim to Rim ( update spring 2012: finished this hike already ), hike to Havasupai Falls and white water rafting at the Colorado River. 

Here are some more parks aside from the Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Park in the Grand Circle. 
Valley of Fire State Park, NV ( just an hour away from Vegas )
Zion National Park, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Canyonlands National Park, UT
Arches National Park, UT
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell
Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona
Sedona, AZ
Petrified Forest National Park

 There are still a lot more to explore in the Grand circle that we ourselves have not yet explored. And actually, we can go back to any of these parks again since we also have not fully explored the trails in each park, because, there are just so many little little energy!! 

Next time you plan a visit to Las Vegas, you may find it in the heart of your Grand Circle Adventure Vacation. Go, take the backroads, explore our world, hike and be filled with awe and wonder, for there is more to Las Vegas than just the strip. 

Let me end this post by a quote from Socrates,

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  1. Gorgeous photos, Betchai! I think both city life, and outdoor life have different things to offer..

  2. I am glad you discovered the beauty outside of Vegas instead of being stuck inside a smoky casino.

  3. great shots! How I wish I have the travel fund, time , and courage now to explore Vegas and the world. The lights, the colors, hues, and spirit- truly Vegas!

  4. this post brought back a lot of good and happy memories, been to the place in 2005, my mom won the jackpot in the slot machine not only once but thrice hihi, the beautiful sceneries in Arizona and I really enjoyed roaming Vegas at night - beautiful!!

  5. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine two entirely different scenarios of a single place especially if one is more visible than the other. I would like to see both sides of Vegas.

  6. Wow look at that beautiful view of Arizona and Utah. So far I've only been to Grand Canyon and Vegas its worth every penny just to go there. Were coming back to AZ this May and first time in Moab Utah this Sep for my husband conference. Definitely this post inspire me in so many ways. I have to do more research how far we will have to drive to get to this places. Thanks for sharing girl indeed you are bless :)


    It is the first word that comes to my mind after reading your post and watching all these pictures Ate Betchai! God's creation is truly amazing and I am so grateful that you have taken me there by sharing your fist hand experiences and for wonderfully capturing its beauty.

    I hope I would be given the chance to experience all of this someday... in God's perfect time.

    Thank you very much for this very inspiring post. This made my day! Hugs!

  8. i would love to go to las vegas!! it is one of the places in my bucketlists though not really the first one hehe your photos makes me excited and those city lights looks amaizng!

  9. It is a nice place to visit i bet, from the city to the parks you name it that place have it.

  10. We're so lucky to have the chance to experience what the US has to offer. Yes, both : great city life and the natural beauty that this country has been blessed with.

  11. Amazing photos! Truly, God is the greatest designer of all these magnificent places and views. I love nature and I would rather go visit these places rather than the busy night life in Vegas. Try also to visit Garden Of The Gods in Colorado Springs. It's beautiful there.

  12. oh my, I think if I were to see the grandeur of those places in person I am gonna be speechless and will cry too!!! I think my mom is missing a lot having not had the chance to explore those places yet...she's been to Vegas and played but no one has taken her to those amazing geographic treasures yet....I really wish I could one day tour those with her and you!! :)

  13. If there is a contest of the best photographer in the blogland, you will win for sure AteB! You take gorgeous photos of everything! Thanks for the tour!

  14. Lovely photos sis Betchai! I agree that Las Vegas is not just about The Strip. There are more to see and even the surrounding areas near Nevada. We will definitely come back and explore Nevada and nearby states next time. I hope I can take a month-long vacation. Maybe when my daughter is in college or when I'm about to retire, I'll spend grand for a major US state-wide tour! :)

  15. It's so much different than the Las Vegas we used to see. You can really see the wonders that we have to see and just take a great moment! :D

  16. I have heard a lot of great things about the US but never had I been convinced till you keep taking me their each time through your breathtaking photographs, Te Betchai! Like before, I am at a loss for the appropriate adjectives to describe its beauty. I can only be amazed by God's beautiful creations and yes! Your photography skills can never be undermined!

    Love and hugs from me to you! Mwah!

  17. With all your lovely photos, I am so convinced that there's more to casino and bars in Las Vegas.

  18. Now this is the post that I want to read and check :) It's good to know that Las Vegas is not just about the casinos and bars. It is also perfect for those who love to hike and travel!