We alighted again at the Temple of Sinawava, named for the coyote god of the Paiute Indians. Here Zion Canyon narrows; we walked the paved foot trail about a mile to the mouth of the gorge, sharing the way with numerous squirrels who seemed oblivious to the two-footed invaders.
We gloried in more of the stunning sights on the ride back and returned to Vegas well in time for dinner and to make our donations to the ubiquitous slot machines.
Hoover Dam was next on our hosts' itinerary.
Just about 30 miles or so southeast of Las Vegas, in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, this concrete dam was completed in 1935 and formed Lake Mead, the largest manmade lake and reservoir in the United States. (The second largest is nearby Lake Powell, a reservoir on the Colorado River. Most of it, including the Rainbow Bridge, is in Utah, though it straddles the border between Utah and Arizona.)
Traffic is not allowed across the Hoover Dam, but, after parking, we climbed up the stairs to the Mike Callahan-Pat Tillman Memorial arch bridge for a spectacular view of the dam and the surrounding area. The bridge is in Nevada on one side and Arizona on the other.
An outing for another day of our visit was Mount Charleston, in the Spring Mountains and Toiyabe National Forest, northwest of Las Vegas. At nearly 12,000 feet, it is the highest point in the area, a popular getaway spot for Las Vegans who want to escape heat in summer. Its cool mountain breezes bring temperatures down 20 to 30 degrees.
On the way back, we drove around Red Rock Canyon, awed by its towering red sandstone cliffs, some reaching 3,000 feet. It was hard to believe that this natural beauty was only about 15 miles west of metropolitan Las Vegas.
Back in the city, we took a walk on the wild side and wandered the Strip to ogle the flashy hotels, see a show and contribute, again, to the cacophonous casinos that bait visitors with slot machines, card tables and roulette wheels.
After just an extended weekend, we headed back to McCarran Airport for the trip home. While waiting to board our flight, we played the slot machines, in the terminal.