A 1995 hike
Michael, our son, likes to hike, especially up mountains. So he invited me to accompany him on hikes up Mt. Timpanogos, near Provo in Utah, and Mt. Charleston, near Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both are not quite 12,000 feet (~4,000 m) above mean sea level, and we did both.
Both times Michael bounded up and down. I dragged myself up and shuffled down. But the most important thing is to make it to the top. The second most important thing is to live to tell the tale. So imagine my chagrin at not being able to tell the tale: these pictures went missing! Now in early 2010 they are found!
We started out from the trail-head that takes us up the flank of Mummy Mountain, then across the connecting east-west mountain ridge between Mummy and Charleston (the northern slope of which is the Lee Canyon Ski Resort). Once past Charleston peak, we followed the main spine of the Spring Range south until we came to the steep trail down by the Mt Charleston Lodge.
So this is what we looked like at the start, where a kind soul took our picture:
Soon we found ourselves high up the flank of Mummy Mountain, on a trail that would take us to Charleston. One can also take this trail up the Mummy by taking a right turn instead of a left as one gets on the connecting ridge between the two peaks. The Mummy, we heard, is not a mountain easy to ascend. There is not a great trail to its summit as there is for Charleston and you end up scrambling up, and then down [which is worse], some very steep rock chimneys. Not quite technical climbing, but close. Not my style, sorry.
But here is a view from the trail as it rises up Mummy's flank, looking west to the main spine of the Spring Range (Mt Charleston is out of sight to the right). Note the snow from a recent storm sitting in a few cracks on the shaded side of the range. This is where small glaciers form during ice ages when temperatures are on average about 10 degrees (F) cooler and precipitation is on average twice what it is today. Then there is snow all year in these shaded cracks in the flanks of the Spring Range:
Not all the trees are dead, just a few in places where it is hard to get water in dry years and it has been very dry (still is, the first decade of the 21st century was unusually dry here).
A few more turns and Charleston's peak comes into view:
From a higher part of the trail along the side of the Mummy one can see across a lower part in the Spring Range to the southwest:
The trail to Mt. Charleston leaves the Mummy and goes along the ridge that runs east-west between the north-south peaks of Charleston and Mummy. From that trail, as it ascends Charleston, we look back on our trail and on Mummy Mountain, which is now behind us:
In case you think at this point we are almost to the top, well, not quite!
At one point the trail allows us to look over the top of the eats-west ridge and into Lee Canyon and, way down below, at the dry lake that is part of the Nellis Air Force Range:
Once we get to the top of Charleston, this is what Mummy Mountain looks like, so there has been quite a bit of elevation gain! The mummy that gave the mountain its name has its large head to the left and feet to the right (you have to use a little imagination)
So now we are at the Mt. Charleston summit, and we have to pose at the lightning rod that protects hikers (or so I presume). I believe the sign says 11,910 feet (we parked the car at about 8,000 feet):
Imagine my surprise to find joggers at the summit. I asked one how long it had taken him to get up here, and he says his round-trip is about 2.5 hours, he runs all the way and is part of a club that does this regularly, about 20 members are on the path today.
My round trip was just over 8 hours. But I made it.
Confession: in Las Vegas it was over a hundred (degrees F) this day. On the way up, with little wind and in direct sun, it was probably in the high 80s much of the way and I was exerting myself and sweating profusely. At the top I met about a 40 mph breeze and 50 degrees, and went into a hypothermic state. I asked my son if he wanted anything from 7-11, I pointed and said I was going to get me a Big Gulp, right there where this white truck is just turning in to park.
I saw it all with my own eyes, I did! But this is about where I was pointing:
My thoughtful son, having some experience, sat me down behind a rock, out of the wind, had me take my shirt off and hung it to dry. When I warmed a little and saw where I had been pointing and acknowledged there was no 7-11 anywhere to be seen, I got my shirt back and we proceeded the rest of the way down.
Next we head south along this barren but easy slope:
A little later we walk in delightful pine woods for about 6 miles above 10,000 feet, where we are watched by a deer:
And that, my friends, is the end of my story, for this day.