Hiking the Las Vegas region has been a whirlwind of excitement for me. As an east coaster, this is unchartered territory that I have only ever really dreamed about.
It’s not what I dreamt about!
No. In fact, this was a whole new world that I was absolutely delighted with. Growing up, I envisioned the hikes here something along the lines of a Looney Toons cartoon scene with the Tasmanian devil running after you.
OKAY. So I totally grew up guys and figured out that part of life wasn’t real.
My journey out west had already brought me to so many different hiking locations, but now it was on to something even more challenging which would soon prepare me for our venture to Lake Tahoe.
Meet Mount Charleston.
Mount Charleston was quite a treat, but it almost didn’t happen. After our nearly hour long drive to the mountain from Las Vegas, we were notified by the mountainside restaurant at the base that the trail leading up to the mountain was closed off due to the weather.
What weather? It’s 55 degrees and the sun is shining.
We eventually came to the conclusion that the trail was just closed off for the season, but we saw plenty of other hikers who were already starting their ascent to the top. We would also follow suit shortly, and thank goodness we did. This was a hike I absolutely did not want to miss out on.
The hike for me was a bit of a challenge. Again, as an east coaster the landscape that is out here in the west is by far extremely different so the typography totally has been throwing me off balance for much of the journey. To give you an idea, most mountains in the northeast all are under 6,000 feet. The highest of them all is Mount Washington sitting at a little over 6,000 feet. Much of what we hike we think is challenging until we head to the west. Hiking an 8,000 foot mountain suddenly becomes a challenge!
As we climbed, I felt my breath getting shorter but I carried on. I was in this both for the views and the exercise. No good day out west was going to waste!
To waste it certainly didn’t. As we crisscrossed our way to the peak, the views became even more and more breathtaking. (Actually, they literally started taking my breath away. Water?)
Once we arrived to the summit, it was as if we had a date with destiny. We were in our glory! We stood out and overlooked an entire valley below us as eyes eventually peered out into the desert beyond the valley. The rock formations of the area were incredibly stunning, and it felt as if you were somehow protected from all elements by these boulders. We eventually decided it best to mellow out and have a few snacks while enjoying the fruits of our labor of the challenging hike we all have just endured.
When hiking with a group, it’s always a lot of fun. You get to learn so much about not only other people, but also a lot about yourself. The time spent out in nature does a lot of good for the soul, and it’s best to keep people close to you that enjoy that sort of thing, too.
After spending nearly an hour relaxing at the peak, it was time to pack up and venture on to our descent. While we were sad to see such a great day come to a close, I was anxious to get ready for the rest of my totally awesome vacation.
To be continued……..
(Editors note: The West Coast Adventure is a six part elevated series. This column is currently part four in the series. It is meant to reflect a journey and to have the reader travel along through the columns. We hope that you’re enjoying the journey!)
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