Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beautiful places near home

I haven't been very inspired to blog lately but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about you all!  It's just been pretty dull around here.  However, on our walk last Saturday morning my wife had an idea.  We have always wanted to visit Mt. Charleston; why not make a day trip up there.  Cool idea!  We've heard it is beautiful but have never made the trip.  Why not!

Let me explain a bit of background.  The photo of the mountain on the blog header is Mt. Charleston.  It is like the 3rd or 4th highest mountain in the continental U.S. at almost 12,000 feet (3,600m).  It is the centerpiece of the Spring Mountain range that divides our valley from the Las Vegas valley.  The thing is that you can go across the range south of Mt. Charleston or you can go north; it's quite a trip either way.  We decided to drive north of Pahrump on highway 160 up to where it intersects US 95 then take US 95 south until we could head up highway 156 to the Mt. Charleston peak area.  That alone is a 2 hour trip.  Then we thought we'd take highway 158 south along the side of the mountain to the little town of Mt. Charleston then go east on highway 157 until it connected with US 95 about 10 miles south of where we had left it.  Basically, all it amounts to is a short scenic loop that takes you up to about the 8,500 foot (2,600m) level. 

All was good until we got onto highway 156 to go up the mountain.  Turns out there was a 'special event' Saturday; to wit, a bunch of bicycle riders going up the mountain then coming back down.  Of course it slowed us down but actually that was kind of an advantage as it gave us more time to enjoy the scenery while we weren't trying to avoid the cyclists.  We got up to the place where we needed to decide whether we wanted to visit the ski area (and all the cyclists) or just turn south.  We chose turning south.  The road was very nice with a fair number of turnouts for sightseeing and letting others go past. 

The whole loop was very scenic with the desert gradually giving way to actual trees.  Did I take my camera, hell, no!  The way I plan for these things, you'd might think me an idiot.  On the way back to US 95 we got to drive through a couple of campgrounds.  They seemed quite nice but were basically unimproved and I wouldn't want to take a big rig in some of them.  We saw a couple of 35 foot motorhomes in the Kyle Canyon area but there weren't any big trailers or fifth-wheels!  Nice area but not for us.  In addition, because of the weekend, it was packed. 

It was 13:00 by the time we made it to Las Vegas.  We spent a good 15 minutes looking for a special restaurant my wife wanted to visit; happily we had both the address and the suite number - they are gone.  Not even a glimmer of a restaurant.  So we went to a fast food joint!  The things you've gotta do when it's late and you are hungry.  Anyway, then it was just a quick trip home in plenty of time to feed the dog. 

Sunday was pretty quiet but then Monday and Tuesday I was laid low by vertigo.  I had an episode early in 2011 so it wasn't as frightening this time but it isn't fun.  Basically the only thing you can do is lie down and shut up until it goes away.  I had some drugs I was given for it back in 2011 so I took some of those to ease my recovery.  Anyway, by Wednesday I was back in the land of the living. 

So there are my last few days.  We had talked of going up to Zion or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon but decided there are things around here that we need to be doing.  After the vertigo episode, I'm sure glad we were here!  Hope you had some nice fall weather!

1 comment:

Ed said...

I spent a couple of weeks at two campgrounds on Mt Charleston back in 2010. One of them had full hook-up but it stays full most of the time, certainly on weekends.