TURTLEHEAD OR BUST
Turtlehead or Bust?......Bust it was, in fact. After an hour or so into the approach we paused to look up at Turtlehead Peak. Carroll said, “I really don’t think so……but Turtlehead Junior…..sure, we can do that!”
So, off we went to the “Junior” version. Scrambling up the rocky incline was akin to putting together the pieces of a challenging puzzle, wonderfully invigorating albeit a little frightening at times, which, of course, added to the adrenaline rush! More than a couple of times she wondered, “What was I thinking, sounding so sure of myself?”
Chris was a source of great inspiration, calm comfort, and serious “backup” (no pun intended); and there were some moments that all of those items were greatly necessary! When we reached the top we were rewarded with awesome views of Las Vegas not only afar, but close by as well. After signing the log book, found neatly tucked away in a small box-sized “cave”, we began the (I’ll call it treacherous) descent. Chris was moving like a lithe mountain goat and had more than one opportunity to catch Ken and Carroll lagging a bit behind! Some of the downward “opportunities” presented more of a challenge than we (Carroll) were mentally prepared for, but, with Ken’s encouragement and patience and Chris’s “backup,” she made it….and was even caught laughing about it!
The only sacrifice of the day turned out to be the pants! One could say they “gave their all!” While others could have undoubtedly completed the “opportunity” in less time, we enjoyed every (almost!) moment and it was most certainly a very well-spent, enjoyable, and exhilarating 6-hour tour!
HIGHPOINTING THROUGH THE SOUTH
I recently took a scenic drive in my new car from Florida to Las Vegas. It was a great trip, although some would question my sanity.
I drove 5,400 miles in just over a week. I visited the highpoints of 10 states along the way: FL, AL, MS, MO, AR, LA, TX, OK, KS, and NE. I also visited various friends and relatives along the way, and even made it to see a Cardinals game in St. Louis.
Some of the noteworthy things I learned on this trip were:
1) The highpoint in Florida, Lakewood Park (345'), is not very high.
2) The highpoint of Arkansas, Magazine Mountain (2753'), despite it's relatively low elevation, is a majestic mountain. I'm sure the visibility would have been about 100 miles had it not been for the thick fog that made it hard to see 100 feet!
3) Chick-Fil-A is good. It is a fast food chicken restaurant prevalent in the South, and their secret is to serve pickles on their chicken sandwiches.
4) Finding a gas station in rural northwestern Louisiana is NOT easy. In fact, sometimes when, at long last, you find one, it doesn't have any gas. This experience also taught me that in our new car, you can drive at least 30 extra miles after the sensor says it is empty!
5) Texas is BIG. It takes a whole day just to drive across Texas!
6) Except for Texas and Oklahoma, reaching the state highpoints in the southern states require little or no physical effort.
7) The highpoint of Texas, Guadalupe Peak (8751'), is a great hike. You gain about 3000' along the 4.2-mile trail to the summit. The views are tremendous, and the terrain is rugged and dramatic, unlike the majority of Texas, which is quite flat.
8) The highpoint of Oklahoma, Black Mesa (4975') is nice 8.5 roundtrip hike with a very informative summit marker. It points out that Cimarron County, OK is the only county in the U.S. that touches four other states. It was VERY windy on the summit.
9) Driving through snow is tedious and tiring. Driving home on I-70 through Wyoming, for about five hours, the temperature never got above freezing and it snowed most of the drive. Then, once in Utah, the weather was clear... until I hit a blizzard going through Beaver, UT. It was a neat trip, but I was happy to be home!
MY FIRST HIKE
Finally, I get my chance to hike. It’s been almost two years that these parents of mine have been schlepping me around. I've been to numerous states, on trails and on routes, up mountains and into canyons, and always on daddy’s back. Sounds good, right? Wrong. You try sitting for hours in a cramped space and an almost-always wet (and sometimes more than wet, if you get my drift) diaper. Crunched into a backpack seat, barely able to move my arms and legs. And then, I have to listen to half a dozen people on the trail say, “Now there’s the life! Hahahaha. Wish someone would carry me!” Get over it, people. You get to explore and touch. You get to hike! I have to sit and watch. B-O-R-I-N-G.
But I digress. Finally, I get my chance to hike. I woke up one Saturday morning to hear Daddy telling Mommy he was going to take me hiking. He gathered up the gear and loaded up the car like usual, but instead of putting the always-present child carrier in the trunk, he loaded up my cute-as-a-button raccoon backpack, complete with a few of my favorite little trucks and a bottle of water. Off we went, and by midmorning we reached the trailhead for Lost Creek Canyon in Red Rock.
This is it, the moment I’ve been waiting for. I start out quick, eager to feel the rocks under my tiny shoes. This is a breeze. C’mon daddy, keep up! Wow wow, this is the life. I can swing my arms. I can run or saunter. I can reach over and pick up rocks. I can go backwards down the trail. This is SWEET!!! I did slow a bit when we hit some rocks. Nothing big for Daddy, but for me a 1.5’ rock in the trail calls for a class III move. Sometimes I feel uneasy, so I’d grab for daddy’s finger. It makes me feel better to know he is close.
After 0.35 successful miles of hiking, we reached the destination: Lost Creek Falls. There were puddles to play in, mud to mess with, pictures to take, and a snack to eat. All of it was more satisfying since I hiked in on my own.
We rested and played for a bit, and then we hiked back out. Daddy took like a million pictures, and he was there to lend a finger when I felt uneasy. What a great day! Our adventure ended after 0.7 miles and 1.5 hours. I climbed into my car seat and almost immediately fell asleep. Hiking is hard work, but I’m good at it, and it sure is better than a bumpy ride on Daddy’s sweaty back. I can’t wait to get out there again!
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CLICK HERE FOR LVMC EVENT SCHEDULE
The Las Vegas Mountaineers monthly meeting this month is on Tuesday, April 28th at Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara. Meeting time is 7:00 p.m.