Passport to an Awesome Adventure
The Desert Combat Tour
story by Michael Goins
photos courtesy of Awesome Adventures
Planning a trip to Las Vegas but can’t seem to decide what one of a kind type of experience you are looking for? Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was some type of all-purpose Vegas vacation-styled “passport” to help sift through the many choices Las Vegas offers? Well, look no further my friends, because the Awesome Adventures Passport is the ultimate gateway to truly awesome adventures. In fact, speaking of awesome adventures, the Desert Combat Tour is an absolute “must-do” for any adventurer with a passion for thrill-seeking, adrenaline infused experiences.
Our full day of adventure began by being picked up by the Awesome Adventures team and shuttled out to El Dorado Canyon. Upon our arrival, we began to feel as though we’d been transported back to the days of the Old West. Outside of the 21st century vehicles, which delivered our party to the “town,” there wasn’t much modernization anywhere to be seen. In fact, our cell phones all began to read limited to no service. The stage was set. No more safe spaces. We were truly in the middle of the desert.
After a short briefing on our itinerary, the enthusiastic Awesome Adventures team got us set-up on our very own ATVs. They also were careful in making sure we all had the proper safety gear securely fashioned before we set out into the desert wilderness. As we traversed the beautiful yet rugged mountainous terrain, led by our own personal guide, we were gifted with some of the most beautiful, scenic views one could possibly imagine. Ultimately, there were simply too many “Kodak moments” to count. Although, I will forever keep the grandeur and vastness of the mountainous canyons merging with the beauty of the crystal clear desert sky imprinted in my mind.
Just as my natural high was at its peak, my senses were given new jolts of anticipation and excitement. Why, you ask? Because we were entering the infamous Combat Canyon. As we drove past the “combat zone,” remnants of battles past could still be seen. In fact, what I can only hope was merely paint was still lingering throughout the battlefield. The rest of our party could also be seen rubbernecking as they slowly drove past the barricades which were obviously strategically placed throughout the combat zone. It was almost as if we were searching for signs of life or perhaps just plotting out our own strategy for once we returned readied for battle.
Mind you, not everyone in our party had fired a gun before. Nevertheless, the knowledgeable Las Vegas Gunfights staff provided each of us an opportunity not only to learn proper firearm safety measures, but also took us through proper movement when firing a weapon. They showed us not only how to communicate without speaking, but also how to work in what they called two man cells. They said these dynamic shooting and movement principles would serve us well in our upcoming battle.
By now, we were all feeling a bit like Chuck Norris from one of his many combat movies. It’s fair to say our motley party of four was ready to do battle. We each were fully suited up in protective tactical safety gear, issued our firearm along with our magazines of ammunition (simunition). Since there were four of us, we set out onto the combat zone with two on each side. As the Gunfight Marshal barked out our final instructions, the smoke bomb exploded and our gunfight was on.
Within the first seconds of the match I could hear the blistering sound of something fast whizzing by my facemask, near my left ear. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a gunfight. Make no mistake, at that point my heart was pounding through my chest, I think my partner was having an adrenaline dump because they were having a hard time keeping up with me as I was navigating the barricades towards our target. One of our objectives was that we had to work as a team if we were to win the match. And win we did.
Ultimately, the prep work we received in our gun training prior to the match paid off. Not only did we successfully navigate the barricades as a team, we also managed our munitions well (for first timers) and were even able to land several shots on the other team while on the move. In the end, we achieved our goal by bringing our designated tire back “safely away from harm,” and then releasing our match winning smoke bomb. After the match, we all were completely exhausted. However, we all can admit that we have a newfound respect for what our servicemen and women in the military and law enforcement go through when they are in a firefight. Without a doubt this was truly an eye-opening experience and one that I must confess leaves me wanting to do it again and again.
As we all began our cool down by removing our tactical gear while still catching our breath, the Awesome Adventures team announced it was time for our lunch break. Although we may not fully admit it, the timing was perfect. We all needed a rest from our hard-fought battle and for those of us who “won,” we offered up some good old fashioned gloating to boot.
After lunch, we mounted our desert steeds and made our way back to civilization – at least, for our remote location, that is. We were led to an opening in the canyon. Our guide then asked us to shut down our ATVs and dismount. As we all stood, gazing in at the man made hole on the side of the canyon, we knew it was Eldorado Gold Mine time. It was the perfect change of pace after a morning of rugged ATV riding and exploration, and the emotionally draining, yet incredibly satisfying gunfight experience. Indeed, we were all happy to “walk it off” by enjoying a tour of the canyon interior and the many stories it would tell.
We were led through the gold mine tour by our guide, who knew all there was to know about the lore and history of the gold mine. He even explained to us how miners would check to make sure it was safe before entering. They would throw rocks or whatever objects on hand as far into the mine as possible to scare or rustle out bears, cougars, coyotes, etc. In fact, as we made our way back out of the gold mine all I could think to myself was, “History Channel, eat your heart out!”
All in all, it was an awesome day. After years of coming to Las Vegas and doing the same old things we couldn’t have been more pleased to have found the Awesome Adventures Passport and learn about the one of a kind, Desert Combat Tour experience.
Here’s the bottom line: whether you’re a resident or a visitor to southern Utah, Mesquite or Las Vegas, if you’re looking for a truly must-do adventure, you need to get on board with the Awesome Adventures Passport. Go to the Awesome Adventures website (www.awesomeadventures.com) and they will help you break out of your bubble and introduce you to the hidden gems surrounding Sin City.