McFarland Peak

June 1, 2003

Report by Joel Brewster, Photos by Troy Wirth
It was 7:00 when a group of eight mountaineers met at the Park & Ride. The group included Alan Nakashima, Dave Revzin, Paul Kuroda, Steve Nguyen, Voytek, Mike Shackleford, Troy Wirth, and myself. Most of us took at least a slight detour trying to get to the parking lot because of the poor (lack of) signage. One adventurous member of the group even drove cross-country to get there over a fallen fence, taking the direct route as opposed to the circuitous route that everyone else took.
It was a perfect late spring day as we set out along the Bristlecone Trail. As we took our first break at the junction with the Bonanza Trail, we compared elevations on our watches and GPS’s. Ah, the modern world! From there, we headed up the moderately steep Bonanza Trail for about three miles until we reached the turnoff for McFarland Peak. After a short break there to get the group all together, we headed up the very steep gully that leads to the ridgeline. As we trudged up the gully, there was little conversation as everyone was huffing and puffing. In fact, as coordinator, I made the rule that if anyone could still breathe enough to talk, they would have to go back to the trailhead and restart the hike. Not surprisingly, I had no takers on this offer.
At the top of the gully, we were treated to a magnificent vista of Mt. Charleston and the surrounding peaks. From there, it was only a short trek to the peak. Once on the peak, we took the obligatory summit photos, ate lunch, chatted, and Voytek replenished his fluids with a long swig from a vodka bottle! As we were signing the register, we noticed how few entries there were. In fact, the last entry was almost two months ago. We did however, see many fellow LVMC'ers among the few entries in the register.
On the way down, we had a little trouble finding the top of the gully where we came up, but fortunately, Steve had marked the coordinates on his GPS, so we followed his lead back up to the top of the correct gully. After this short detour, the descent was uneventful. The group spread out into faster and slower groups once back on the trail, but we were all back to our cars in a little less than nine hours after we had begun. All in all, it was a great hike with a great group.

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