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Red Rock Canyon, NV

Knowing in my heart that I will see Nikki and Barb again makes hugging goodbye a bit easier on me. I know we will stay in touch. Nowadays, with FaceTime, I don't feel so disconnected from my loved ones.

I am super excited this morning. Susan and I realized we were only an hour apart, so we both made an effort to change our schedules to meet for breakfast. What a joyful reunion it is!

It's great to catch up and hear about her time in Baha. Staying connected can be challenging when you travel outside the US borders.

We share notes on our next destinations. I share my Google Maps folder of Vancouver Island, and Susan shares her Prince Edward Island folder.

It is amazing that I can spend time again with some of the beautiful and wonderful women I met last year.

I'm heading to Nevada to explore Red Rocks Canyon and Valley of Fire.

As I leave Temecula, I have five and a half hours of driving ahead of me. I am so excited to see what my landscape movie for today will be.

My long drive is welcomed by my favorite landscape. The last thing I expected to see is a long range of snow-covered mountains.

Sitting in traffic is one of my least favorite things to do. It feels like the most wasted time however, Highway 15 is completely stunning! 

It excites me when I go through different landscapes. Green California is changing to brown Nevada. My favorite color is blue; next is green; brown is at the bottom of the list. However, when it comes to brown in nature, especially when it involves high, rugged mountains, I have somehow changed my color preference. The clean blue skies frame the rugged mountains as they fold into each other. It is a perfect view to love and appreciate the freedom for which I am so grateful.

I lost an hour and a half sitting in traffic. I get to Las Vegas as the sun goes down. What is leaving me with little time to find a spot for tonight. On top of it, driving on a five-lane highway only increases my anxiety. Put me in the middle of nowhere, and I am happy as can be. Put me on a five-lane highway, and I lose it.

I saw a BLM campground on Google Maps, so that is where I am heading. As I approach my destination, I notice a few cars and vans parking along the shoulder on a wide dirt section. My mind, of course, is on overload, but there is always room to be analytic. That can be plan B. Plan B it is! The BLM campground is only by reservation, and the campground is full.

I am wiped out from today's drive, but somehow, by four am, I am ready to start my day. So I lay for another two hours cozy with my heating blanket, thinking...

I am thinking about the new weakness that I found with my car. The two days of rain in California created muddy ground, which caused my car to get stuck in the mud. I knew that would be an easy fix since I was in a campground with many people around, but what would happen if I got stuck in the middle of nowhere? I need to do more research on the subject. The last time I had a front-wheel-drive car was fifteen years ago.

By six, I decided to move closer to the entrance of Red Rock Canyon and start breakfast. Wow, it is so beautiful here! What a great surprise to wake up to this beauty. Getting here in the dark last night gave me a gift of beauty this morning.

I have an entry permit for 10:00 a.m., but I hope they will let me in earlier. (To be able to drive the scenic route, you must have a permit.) Great! By 8:00 I am at the visitor center gathering more information and a map. 

The scenic loop is only 13 miles long.; Once you enter, you can only return if you have another permit. There are many hiking options from easy to difficult. One can easily spend the whole day there. 

My first stop is to hike The Calico Tanks trail. This hike is an excellent choice because it gets me higher, giving me a wider lens of my gorgeous view.

I love it when nature surprises me. As I get closer to the trail's end, a reservoir simmers as the wind gently strokes the sun's rays on the blue water. I sit for a while, mesmerized by this beauty.

What I find interesting about Red Rock Canyon is that I can capture many colors of rocks in one frame. At times, it feels like an oil painting. The artist sometimes plays with blending colors or needs the feel for a sharp line creation. So thrilling!

My next hike is to Lost Creek. Well... I kind of got lost. Welll, not really, since I had AllTrails on. It turns out I am hiking the SMYC trail. I didn't take the right turn when I needed to. If you ever want to lose the crowd, that trail is heaven. Not wanting to give up on finding the Lost Creek, I returned to the start of my hike and went to find it.

It was a glorious day of hiking; my last stop was the last parking lot. I want to take one more look into the soul of this majestic view.

As I am about to leave, my eyes capture a Canadian plate on the van across from me. I approached the van to have a conversation, of course, about Canada. What can I say, I love Canada!

Tracy and Lee Anne are from Pemberton, BC, a small town near Whistler. Oh, Whistler, what a magical experience I had last July with your breathtaking views. It is certainly a place I want to return to.

My plan for tonight is to head to Valley of Fire to boondock outside the park. But the invitation from Tracy and Lee Anne to join their camping site at the BLM campground sounds much more exciting.

Someone once asked me what surprised me the most in my travels. It didn't take me long to answer this question. The people, absolutely the people! Meeting and getting to know Tracy and Lee Anne is another gift in my journey. 

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