Friday, May 18, 2012

Above the Vegas Valley

This past weekend I went on a little over night camping trip to climb Mount Charleston, the highest peak here around the Vegas Valley. It's 11,916' high with great views of the Vegas metropolis and even better views to the west of the city of Pahrump. I have to admit, it was one of my least favorite hikes in quite a while. For one thing, I wasn't with my regular group of hiking/backpacking buddies. I went on this trip with a large group of people from the "Hiking Las Vegas" group. There was 20 people on the hike and very few that I really seemed to click with. For me it just didn't seem to go well from the very beginning. People that know me know that I'm never late for anything, work or play. The day started with everyone agreeing to meet up at the Centennial Hills Park & Ride at 9am. I was there at 8:40am. We finally departed from there at 9:40am after waiting for the late comers....
The route we planned to take was the Harris Springs trail and anyone that knows this route knows it's a very long ride up a very rough road just to get to the trail head. It normally takes about 45 minutes from the time you turn off of Hwy 157, Kyle Canyon Rd. That's if none of the trucks break down.... We had a truck break down so by the time we started the hike it was almost 11:45am.
I could go on and on about all the issues I had with this hike and a few of the people but who wants to listen to me complain? Instead I'll just say it was my least motivated hike in recent times and very few pics were taken but I'll share a few that I did take with brief descriptions.

The Vegas Valley
Headed up the trail, looking back down into the Vegas Valley that is barely visible through all the funk in the air this past weekend.
For the eagle eyed in the crowd you might be able to pick out the nose of Turtlehead in Red Rock if you know exactly where to look.

Mummy Mountain
A nice view of Mummy Mountain. One I've yet to conquer. Maybe this summer?!

Along the trail
I'm curious just how old this tree really is????
This image of me was taken by Talon, one of the only people I can say I fit in with on this hike.

Just when you think you are there
Just when you think you are almost there, you get this view and see how much further you still have to go. I'd bet this mountain turns quite a few people back when they see just how far it really is.

This is a close up from the same location as the last image. You'll notice a faded trail that shoots off to the right of the main trail.It leads up to the rubble you can make out in the close up that is a plane crash from 1955.

I'm Ready For My Close Up Mr. DeMille
The GPS reads 11,893' The official altitude at the peak is 11,916'. Only 23' off. Not bad.

My new friend Talon. Thanks for the company on the trail and the intelligent conversation/debate.
I'm very jealous of this guy. He's getting ready to spend 20 days on the John Muir Trail. Now that's a bucket list item there! Good Luck Talon!

Headed down the mountain I noticed this cloud pattern forming with the slightest bit of a rainbow effect in them.

A slightly wider shot showing the surrounding area.

I leave you with that last image of the clouds and want my followers to know that I'll be chasing the Solar Eclipse this weekend. I should have images posted by Monday evening if not sooner and of course I'll be blogging about the entire event here. For those that know me, they know that I've always been interested in astronomy since the age of 13 when I found an old telescope in the attic that long before belonged to my older brother. after that I purchased a 3" refractor and then an 8" Celestron SCT. My current scope is a 12" Meade SCT and I'm very excited to be photographing the annular eclipse this weekend. It's a rare event, so rare in fact that in the 33 years I've been into astronomy, this will be my first annular eclipse. If you are interested in seeing my setup for regular nighttime observing, you can click this link HERE to see shots of my rig. I'll be posting shots of the solar rig when I return from my trip about 150 miles north of Vegas to view the eclipse along the center line. Here's hoping for clear skies and Keep Looking Up!