When it came to visiting Las Vegas in 2021 three things stood out to me; Pot, the face mask conscientious vigilantes and delicious food without breaking the bank. Taking a spring break holiday to Las Vegas during a global pandemic was an adventure to say the very least. But it wasn’t all a haze of marijuana smoke and trying to not have an asthma attack while wearing a face-covering at the pool in one hundred and five-degree heat. There was also a visit to a lovely day spa where a transsexual man saw me naked, and hikes in the breathtakingly gorgeous Mt Charleston Wilderness. Obviously, a trip to Las Vegas during a global pandemic was nothing but ordinary.
Viva Las Vegas hippies!
Visiting Las Vegas at the tail end of a global pandemic was a lesson in patience. Or maybe my impatience came from the fact that I was not high like everyone else in Las Vegas was. In my less than zen, clear-headed state, everything was annoying me, like wearing a face-covering in 105-degree heat while the hippie next to me in the tie-dyed board shorts lights up a joint at the pool then blows second-hand smoke in my face. Heed my warning, please don’t visit Las Vegas on April 20th unless you want a constant contact high. I’m not a pothead so I had no idea the date we arrived in Las Vegas was 420 or every hippie’s favorite excuse to get stoned. The entire time we were on holiday in Las Vegas, I felt like I was basically surrounded by Bernie Sanders supporters. One great thing about visiting Las Vegas, accidentally on 420 during a global pandemic is this lovely facemask I am so damn sick and tired of wearing helped me not breathe in quite as much second-hand pot smoke.
It had been a very long time since I had set foot on the Las Vegas strip. We hadn’t walked the strip in Las Vegas in at least five years, something I used to do three or four times a year when I was in my twenties. As we strolled the strip the first evening we were walking around in Nevada, I was absolutely shocked that every souvenir shop seemed to be selling nothing but weed and weed merchandise. Is this how Vegas is now? I had to wonder before we realized what the date was and why Vegas so high. As I walked the strip in my favorite MAGA hat I had to be the only tourist not stoned on Obamas Yes We Cannabis.
As I was not blitzed on Pelosi’s Green Goddess Ganja or some other fancy liberal pot name, I only had one choice and that was to drive to the nearby Mt Charleston Wilderness as soon as possible. I needed to breathe in some fresh clean mountain air. I had to get the hell away from all these damn potheads before they tried to recruit me to vote for Bernie in 2024.
Luckily the trails near Lee Canyon and Mt Charleston did not disappoint for all my outdoor needs. In all my trips to Las Vegas, I can’t believe I have never hiked up into this wilderness before! The jagged peaks, sugar pines and limber pines of this wilderness did their part to restore my soul and help me find some zen. And I didn’t need to smoke a gateway drug to get there!
Visit the Naked Korean Day Spa
After my day of sweating my way up some of the most scenic peaks in Nevada, I was ready to relax at my favorite Las Vegas day spa. I was not ready to relax next to a transsexual man’s penis, however. I really don’t care if you are LQBXY or Z but I think if you look like a lady and still have a penis working at a day spa with a bunch of naked ladies is not the right workplace for you. As a woman, if I go to my favorite naked Korean day spa and I’m relaxing in my birthday suit in the Mokyoktangs area (That is the not coed section of any Korean day spa) I expect to not be ogled by someone with a penis while doing burpees in the dry sauna.. I know this is the year 2021 and anything goes, but this right here was just too much.
Not to make the naked Korean day spa sound terrify. I actually adore going to Imperial Day Spa which is the best naked Korean day spa in southern California or Las Vegas. I just honestly think that if you have male genitalia and insist on peeing with the stall door open so every one of the naked ladies in the spa can clearly see it, well you shouldn’t be an employee in an area where women are walking around in their birthday suits. There is an awesome coed spa area ( Known as the jjimjilbang at any Korean spa) where men and woman can hang out together in fancy (Just kidding really, they are not fancy at all) Korean style spa PJ’s and enjoy the jade hot sauna, the salt room with skin purifying tendencies and the hot clay room where your muscles feel amazing afterward. My personal favorite is the red clay ball room where you can sink into a pit of hot red clay balls and let them massage your body. Just writing this blog I can’t wait to go back to the Imperial Day Spa again for a few hours of saunas and relaxing but I hope to God I’m not relaxing next to a transsexual man’s wrinkly balls next time. Love the idea of relaxing in every hot and cold sauna ever? Visit Korea and check out one of the Very best Korean day spas in the world.
Leaving the tourists version of Las Vegas; Let’s get the hell out of here!
So how about I talk more about pine trees and less about sweaty balls or red clay balls. Here is a cute photo of my Subaru in a pristine wilderness it did not break down in on our holiday. These days, any time my POS car can drive up a mountain road successfully I feel pretty darn blessed. This is not how I was feeling on our way home from Las Vegas four pot smell filled days later when a big rig exploded in front of me on Interstate 15. We were only stuck on the 15 Freeway for an hour with no air conditioning because my air conditioning had been fixed. It had not been fixed real well by CarMax the week before. Here is a true tale about how CarMax sucks ass and why you should never ever buy a car from them I mean unless you are high as most of the hippies we saw in Vegas were. Then I can truly understand how you could be okay with buying a car from these shysters.
Hike for days in the Mt Charleston Wilderness
But before we sat on a desert highway sweating because my car was not fixed correctly by the morons at CarMax, I went for multiple hikes in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. When most people think of Nevada and visiting Las Vegas during a global pandemic they probably don’t think of hiking. Did you know there are six different kinds of rattlesnakes that slither along the deserts outside of Las Vegas? And that is exactly why when on holiday in Las Vegas, I prefer to hike at over 8,000 feet. I would much rather come across a wild mustang, a super cute Golden-Mantle Grey Squirrel, or wild elk than a Grand Canyon Rattlesnake.
Did you know there are actually wild donkeys and around forty-five wild mustangs that graze in this forest? I was blessed to see both wild mustangs grazing in Lee Meadows and wild burros grazing among the Joshua Trees in the lower elevations along Highway 156 near Deer Creek on my drive into these mountains.
Hoping to see as much wildlife as possible, I did two different hikes in my couple of days up in the mountains above Las Vegas. The first day I did the much more easy hike up Cathedral Rock Trail. I was shocked at how many aspen trees were spread along this route amongst the bristlecone pines and white firs and can’t wait to come back and hike in this in late October when the colors change. This hike had excellent views of the nearby ski resort (Which still had a good amount of snow on the higher peaks.) As well as the nearby Echo Cliffs with a 1,000-foot sheer drop-off. After three days of inhaling some delicious foods all over Vegas-like delicious spicy Lamb Biryani from North Indian-inspired Mt Everest Indian Cusine with homemade delicious creamy raita on the house, I was a happy hungry mountaineer! I mean I had done nothing but eat greats foods and relax poolside with a good book for a few days before this hike. It was a good warmup hike for the next day’s Trail Canyon Trailhead.
Trail Canyon Trailhead has to be one of the hardest short hikes around the Mt Charleston area. The hike up was just over two miles and you gain over 1,500 feet altitude in this short hike. You could keep going further up into the ponderosa pine forest from here and check out the ancient Raintree, a bristlecone pine tree that is rumored to be over 3,000 years old. But I had plans to head straight to my favorite day spa after this butt-busting hike, so I checked out the epic views over Kyle Canyon then was back on my way hiking down the mountain. I’m hoping to come back here in the autumn and hike to the top of Mt Charleston at over 11,000 feet, about a ten-mile roundtrip trek. Locals say that on a clear day you can even see Mt Whitney three hundred miles away to the west from the summit of Mt Charleston.
What do for the nature nerds in Las Vegas during a global pandemic
One of my favorite winter destinations just outside of Las Vegas is Valley of Fire State Park. The wildflowers are just epic here in the very early springtime. Not only that but bring your binoculars or fancy camera as there is a good chance to see wild bighorn sheep climbing about on the red rocks. Once you are done hiking for the day at Red Rocks Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park or the mountains that ring Las Vegas what else can you do while visiting Las Vegas during a global pandemic?
Did you know that the Grand Canyon West is only a short two-hour and forty-five-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip? Some of the drive is quite interesting too as the drive up the 93 towards Kingman takes you over the Lake Mead Dam and past many scenic lookouts for Lake Mead. I like to start this drive at dawn and watch the sunrise over the desert. Go west towards Dolan Springs up highway 25/363 through a few very small desert towns. Bring a picnic lunch purchased at Whole Foods on the strip the evening before and make it to the west rim of the Grand Canyon by breakfast time. You can be back at the Lake Mead area by noon easily. Kingman Wash Access Road is a carefully graded dirt road and the best way to enjoy a day on the refreshing waters of Lake Mead. The 3.6 miles of this dirt road is perfectly driveable down to the Painted Pots beach area in any car, really. Did you bring your kayaks with you? This is a great spot to swim, kayak and picnic before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.
And why spend all that time indoors being hassled about wearing a mask in Las Vegas during a global pandemic when you could be exploring the great outdoors of Nevada? Did you know the Eastern Sierra Mountains near Big Pine are only a four-hour drive from Las Vegas? It’s a great wilderness getaway when you get enough of all the pot smell, the no dancing rules and the mask police of Las Vegas. I mean, you can’t even relax by yourself poolside and sip a margarita in Las Vegas without the mask police yelling at you at the pool, every time you try to sip your margarita. When I’m sitting by myself, twenty feet away from the nearest stranger, it seems a bit ridiculous.
No dancing for you! (Just imagine it in the Soup Nazi voice)
Seriously though; No dancing! Not in Las Vegas for Joe’s sake! This very fancy pub at MGM is basically the 1980’s movie Footloose. They had signs at every table saying no dancing. I mean their awesome bar food menu of chili dogs, Doritos and nachos had me feeling full of gas station dinner and the farts. That was basically the full menu. This restaurant was basically an AMPM mini-mart. Do you really think I felt like dancing? Thank God for everyone wearing masks for once I guess. I was expecting Las Vegas to be different during a global pandemic but I wasn’t expecting a 1984 small town in the midwest where dancing is illegal.
This Las Vegas trip was so different for us. So many restaurants were not open. Some of the places that were open were the food court (Yea!) and half of those fast-food restaurants were closed too. One of the classiest places to get dinner on a Tuesday night at the MGM was the AMPM Pub and we were not impressed with our dinner of Miller High Lite and slim Jims (And no dancing!) I think I was the only one in Las Vegas not high on 420 to realize, come on Las Vegas, you can do better!
Please do not pot and poop
On 420 in Las Vegas, this was a real sign I found in the toilets in the MGM. Now why would you poop and pot? I’m just not sure but that could be besides I’m a conservative and not a hippie. As much as I can normally just waste a day away at the sportsbook yelling at the ponies in Las Vegas or learn what is an if bet, it’s just not as fun when wearing a face mask. The same can be said about relaxing by the pool in Las Vegas. It’s just uncomfortable to wear a facemask in 90-degree heat! It was very frustrating while staying at the MGM that guests were expected to social distance and wear their masks even when not near any other guests but they didn’t even have all their pools open! If they had all the pools open, people could social distance so much more! I normally love to relax by the pool and soak in that vitamin D but I honestly spent more time just reading on the balcony of our suite in the sunshine where I did not have to wear a mask.
So what are the best things to do not on the strip in Las Vegas if you accidentally visit Las Vegas on 420 and need to get away from every pothead in Nevada?
- Drive to the Grand Canyon. Take a detour at Lake Mead
- Look for wild big horned sheep at Valley of Fire State Park
- Thrift shop your little environmentally-friendly heart out at mega thrift store chain, Savers.
- Order Indian food to go from Mt Everest Indian food
- Attempt to relax at a naked Korean day spa.
- If all else fails, ditch the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas and head to the eastern Sierra and the petrified forest near Big Pine, California!