Doggie Tales

Four very short stories from various dog walks in the desert adjacent to Las Vegas, Nevada.

PART 1:

Orientation

Whenever I am home in Las Vegas, I walk the dogs.  

My favorite walking place is in the desert literally adjacent to the northwest part of the city where there is a small park with a flood-control detention basin.

Behind the detention basin lies the desert, with several now-closed roads and adjacent trails.  There is opportunity for climbing, but since I usually walk after dark that is not smart to do.  There is typically enough city-shine to illuminate the way once your eyes are used to the darkness and if you know the trail very well already.

On this particular late-December day I thought I would give the dogs and myself a treat and do a daytime walk, with a little 300-foot climb added on, just for fun.

So from the detention basin we climbed up:

Once on the low ridge, we turn and go up some more (you can see the trail in this photo):

The dogs "Blue" (pitlab mix, extremely gentle dog) and "Trixie" (black Chihuahua and feisty):

The ridge peaks at a point where a family has climbed and planted a flag:

The view from that point is wonderful (that is Las Vegas, directly below and in the distance):

The view is especially nice when there is some weather to give variety to the sky:

That is the Red Rock National Recreation Area under those showers:

The views changes from minute to minute, here is a view to the northeast, the intersection of Cheyenne Boulevard and the Clark County 215 bypass freeway:

As I walked I tried to remember some of my encounters along these trails.  I have run into many people walking, hiking, or doing other things here, but only a few are somewhat memorable.  I will tell of four of these more meaningful encounters.

Not that the less meaningful encouners are not interesting too.

A.  Several times when I have gone in late dailight hours I have joined, with my dogs, two ladies walking their dogs, and mostly listened to them talk about their work and life.  Yes, I can be a listener.  We typically walked in this direction, turning up where that little sliver of road is seen going up (there is a cave there too, a tiny dark spot on the photo to the left of that trail, and once I found a man and his girlfried settled in there with camp-gear on a weekend, the following weekend he was there again, but alone.  I asked him where his girlfriend was: "she doesn't sleep well on rock, won't do it anymore" --wise girl, strange young man):

B.  Several times I have run into a young man who had just hiked all day across a substantial portion of the Spring Range, and was retuning at night to where he had parked.  I have seen his head-lights descending some of these very steep mountains (center of next photo) in near-total darkness.  When I asked him why he did this on his own, he gave the same answer I always give as to why I hike alone: no one else is crazy enough to want to do this with me.

C.  I have run into and chatted very briefly with people who were educators and business-owners out for an evening walk or even a desert cross-country run.  In fact one told me about the cross-country running trail he and his students have made over the years that hugs the side of and circles this whole mountain (it passes just below this cave):

D.  For some time I saw a red-headed woman, 40s maybe and in excellent physical shape (I thought she was just an exercise devotee with a strange regimen) going onto this path. But I only ever saw her go in, never out.  One time, only, I got close enough to ask her where she walked to, and noticed her hefty backpack.  She said she 'had' a cave just over the first set of hills (crosing at lower point to left in next photo) where she had a stash and could sleep with no worries.

She said she had stashes in several other caves to the west of that one, almost to Pahrump, and used them different times of year when she needed to adjust the temperature. She said she could walk from here almost to Pahrump without seeing, or being seen by, anyone.  It is how she lives and she likes it. She has a part time job on this side of town where she can come and go as she pleases, and that keeps her in the few supplies she needs..

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