I’m one step closer to completing my very first half marathon in a few weeks! Well, according to fitbit, I’m actually about 21,296 steps closer. Today I completed 10 miles running and walking at Clark County Wetlands Park in Henderson, NV. It was no easy feat, and leaving behind my poor pup at home after surgery was even harder. The wind and cold were especially unforgiving, but the beautiful desert landscapes made up for the frigid breeze and filled me with the energy to go on. Here are some of my favorite sights from a weekend trip to Clark County Wetlands Park.
If you’ve been in the Las Vegas area recently, you may know that we’ve had not one but TWO fires at this park in less than a month. It was pretty sad and scary news, since we work so hard here to prevent wildfires. I’m happy to report that the burn stopped just before it could jump a road and hit a neighborhood full of houses, and the aftermath in no way detracted from the beauty of this 2,900-acre park.
I began at the Pebco Trailhead, figuring it would be fun to start on one of the only unpaved portions of this 14-mile trail. After all, I’m about to run a half marathon that is partly on trails, so it makes sense to train on a trail. Honestly though, I gave up after about one mile, lol. Before I even started, I could not for the life of me find this trail. I wandered among the parking lot, tiny amphitheater, and restrooms for any markings that might lead me to an actual trail. Nothing. Even the map on my phone didn’t help much, except to tell me the general direction it was in. I walked around a gate with a posted sign “no motorized vehicles” and crossed my fingers that I’d eventually find my way. I did, and it was one of the more boring and poorly marked trails I’ve ever been on. It was essentially a network of gravelly service roads and some sandy paths, and 5-way intersections with no trail markers to guide me on my way. Some of the views of the Strip were breathtaking, but ultimately I turned around to give up on this portion of the trail and cruise back past my car for a slight wardrobe change.
Connected to the parking lot was an insanely easy-to-find path for the rest of my journey. It was clearly a trail, with signs, and arrows, and mile markers, and a name! Giving up and turning around on my first trail was definitely the right decision. From there, my time running and walking just flew by once all my worries and frustration drained away. This was one of the slowest paces I’ve set, sometimes doing 19-minute miles, but that’s how it goes when you want to take 50+ pictures. I spotted roadrunners, a coyote, a hummingbird peacefully perched on a branch, a whole bunch of waterfowl, and what must have been a group of storks? Also a petroglyph, but I’m not thoroughly convinced it’s not a more recent creation.
I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth this path is, because I’m always on the lookout for trails that my family members could easily manage when they visit. I’ve proven, even in my own yard, how easy it is to slip on loose gravel or fall off a boulder doing some of the more challenging trails in and around Las Vegas. Probably because it was built for bicyclists too, this trail is smooth as can be and I’m confident even the relative with Parkinson’s could walk this trail without much difficulty. We might all have to slow down a bit for some of the hills, but I’m quite sure my family could join me on this trail when they visit. I even found a little lookout point by the Wells Trailhead that had stairs and a wonderful option to circle up and around the hill rather than hiking up the steep hillside terrain.
So, can you see yourself just eating up these mountain views? How about the views of the Strip? This will definitely be on my to-do list next time I decide I need to see some actual water and greenery. I’m insanely lucky I’m not stuck with an ugly, boring place to train for my half marathon. Ten miles was quite doable today, so I must almost be ready for the full 13.1-mile distance! Now I’m home and stretched, hot-tubbed, rehydrated, refueled, and ready to recover before my next run. Oh, and ready to give all the cuddles and loves to my little dachshund Dart while he recovers from his surgery yesterday ❤ Happy adventuring everyone!