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Nearby sites grand places to visit

Earlier this month, I spent a couple of days exploring one of the world’s natural wonders: the Grand Canyon.

The trip, a 25th wedding anniversary celebration with my husband, opened my eyes further to the beauty that surrounds us in the Southwest and strengthened my lifelong connection to nature.

As we hiked along and below the canyon’s rim, we were continually amazed at the vistas we saw. We learned about the connections that Native Americans have to the land and how the early settlers in the main village lived. We also delved into the rise of tourism to the Grand Canyon and how the National Park Service and its vendors strive to maintain as much of the park as possible in its natural state.

The park is home to elk and mule deer, which were not shy about making their presence known. We also spotted a variety of birds and kept a constant watch out for the rare (and unfortunately elusive) California condors, which were reintroduced to the wild in 1996 and have begun their own repopulation efforts.

There were also plenty of lizards and squirrels, who were hanging around the ice cream shop in hopes that someone would drop their cone or at the very least share.

The trip also provided the opportunity for us to play “travel agent” with many of the folks we met as we extolled the virtues of our own wonder in nature, Lake Mead. Most were quite surprised to learn that Lake Mead National Recreation Area surpasses the Grand Canyon in both number of annual visitors and actual size of the park.

Billed as “America’s most diverse national recreation area,” Lake Mead spans 1.5 million acres and includes places to explore on land and water. There are mountains, canyons and valleys, some of which look out of this world and are reminiscent of other parks more noted for these formations. You can see the sights on foot, by bicycle or in a motor vehicle.

Of course, there are also the lakes themselves (Mead and Mohave) that beckon to boaters, anglers and those who just want to stick their toes in the water along one of the beach areas. They also can be explored under the surface, or you can venture to the Colorado River itself.

The park, too, is home to plentiful wildlife including desert bighorn sheep, bald eagles, tortoise, bats and lizards. It just takes a keen eye to spot them.

All this sits within minutes of downtown Boulder City, which also offers much to see and do.

Travelers we met knew of Hoover Dam, but not about the town that built it and the history found within our city limits.

Naturally, we were happy to share this information as well as extend invitations to visit.

Our trip helped inspire the Boulder City Review’s article about great places to play tourist in your own backyard that ran last week, June 20. Of course, just like the myriad opportunities to explore Lake Mead, there are plenty of places to visit and things to do in Boulder City. We barely scratched the surface.

If you have a favorite place to visit or thing to do that we missed, please send a few details my way so we can feature them in a future article. Bon voyage.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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