Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 23 - 'Take Out Day - Waterfalls in Wilderness to Casinos in Vegas'

Last morning sunrise over the canyon
We wake up to the beautiful view of Antoine bathing in the waterfall. I slept threw all the storms in the night unlike the others (thanks to Scouts vodka mix) so i'm feeling pretty fresh. Everyone else is shattered, cold and soaked. Turns out Scout woke twice to look outside and check we weren't in danger of being washed away by a flooded stream!!! JB rings out his sleeping bag, bivy bag and socks and we decamp and head back to the beach. Using the toilet can for the last time is a final symbol that this is it 'our last day'. We all manage to pee without getting killed by a sand avalanche and then pack up the rafts for the final time. 
Which way to Pearce Ferry?
Rob and Andy decide to paddle the rafts out the final miles and the rest of us jump on the raft. I'm torn as to whether to paddle or paddle the oar raft but the cold morning combined with the idea that I can finish the trip in a new form of whitewater transport one I couldn't do only a few weeks ago makes sense. Andy spends an hour perfecting his floop before joining me and JB on the raft. It's a great opportunity to get a few quick interviews about the trip. Before we know it we see the vans and the take out at Pearce Ferry - our trip is over!
Final view looking back upstream at the canyon
The remains of the 18 foot raft!
The end of the trip!

New Friendships Formed from an amazing trip
The final view of Lake Mead

It's amazing what it is that surprises you about returning to the real world after weeks in the wilderness. Arriving back in Vegas only two and half hours after finishing on the river is probably one of the biggest culture shocks possible. Lights, cars, people, noise it's unbelievable. We pull up outside the Stratosphere Casino Hotel in the massive rafting minibus with 6 kayaks on the flatbed trailers and get some surprise looks from the doormen and concierges. 

The Stratosphere
After a quick conversion we are sent away from the posh limo area and round the back of the hotel out of site. Luckily they are really accommodating and find a room to store our boats and kit. 
Unusual load in the Limo area at the hotel
It's not long then until we are all crashed out on the comfy beds in the hotel room. There's a massive TV in the room but none of us are interested we just layout on the beds and stare out of the windows at the mountains. 6hrs, it's only been 6hours since we were sat on the raft. Andy shivering and blue from a mild case of floop induced hypothermia wrapped in a sleeping bag, hat, down jacket and gloves paddling an 18 foot raft full of rubbish and s**t and now we are laid out on the hotel bed about to have our first warm shower in 3 weeks and hit the casinos!!! 
Stark contrast from last nights views of the canyon
Tonight's Scouts last night in Vegas so we all muster up the last of our energy and we hit the town. We start with an awesome meal in China town at a restaurant recommended by our taxi driver. Then we get a lift (not a taxi just a friend of the Chinese restaurant manager) in a Hummer to New York New York and after a quick serving of Ben and Jerry's we head fully fed to ride the Roller Coaster - again awesome, highly recommend. On the big loop on the roller coaster Andy's hat gets ripped from his head (I'm sure it doesn't want to complete this journey NB Diamond Peak) this time it's Antonine to the rescue catching it mid loop t' loop and returning it to him at the end of the ride - insane!  
Its like a scene from Oceans 11
Next up its casino time! We head to the Bellagio and watch the first of many water shows. Suddenly everyone begins to relax as we watch the water fountains dance to the barring tunes and then head inside to hit the tables. Within seconds Robs gone then he's back he's just turned $2 into $15 he's buzzing and quickly gone again. After a crash course in Roulette before the trip I head over to the Roulette tables to put $3 on No 9 for my mum. When I find one I'm excited until I see the min $200 bet sign. No way! Eventually I find a min $10 table and find a seat. Antione and Andy join me in loosing my first $30 at a casino. Fun? Kinda, Did we know what we were doing? Not really, An experience i'll repeat? Nope! But $30 towards seeing the water shows I guess is ok. We eventually find Rob who is now $76 up and head back outside. 
Fun and Games in Vegas
Shattered me, Andy, Antoine, Anne and the Ted Piper head back to the Stratosphere. We head to the roof and ride 'the big one' a better description would be 'the s**t one' don't waist your cash on this ride. If you do go however do go to the roof. The view is amazing especially with all the lights in the night. We can just make out the canyon mountains in the distance, what an insane 3 weeks!
Trouble in Vegas we can just make out the moutains in the background behind the lights of Vegas