So most moms spend Mother’s Day relaxing and being pampered…breakfast in bed, trip to the spa, maybe a quaint picnic with the kids. Me, I’m not your typical mom, so I was certain to have an atypical Mother’s Day. I woke early, packed up my gear, and headed out for Joel’s North Peak day hike. I met up with him, Richard, Tomasz, Jan and Jose in Summerlin. The six of us shuttled to Red Rock and found Ed and Nasrin in the Willow Springs Picnic Area.
Our intrepid group of eight walked a couple miles of the Rocky Gap Road so we could loosen up before taking on a steep wash and a fun Class II-III scrambling route that included some dry waterfalls. The group was strong, and we made good time. We exited the wash and were faced with 180 degrees of options. Our fearless leader, Joel, directed us toward North Peak, and seven of us quickly found the summit. If you’re a numbers person, you’ll remember we started with eight. At some point in the wash, among the dry waterfalls, Tomasz decided to keep his own pace, and he ended up ahead of us, somewhere other than North Peak.
While the group enjoyed some snacks, shared some stories, and entered their names in the register on the peak, Tomasz noticed us (and probably heard Richard bellowing out his name) and made his way to the peak and rejoined the group. We must have spent an hour or more on the summit. It was a little hazy, but the views were still good. A gentle, cooling breeze took the bite out of the persistent sun and unseasonably high temps. Ultimately we had to head back down, though. Joel and I thought we’d get the group moving by putting on our packs and heading downhill. That move, however, just led Richard to lie down for a nap.
Finally we did descend, this time taking a trail along a ridgeline instead of the wash to get back to Rocky Gap Road. All eight of us arrived back at the vehicles, where we said our goodbyes and laughed as Richard assaulted Joel with a spewing can of Coke.
It was a perfect Mother’s Day. I was outdoors, enjoying a great
adventure with some wonderful people.
Moapa Peak is a beautiful, but tough peak located at the southern end of the Mormon Mountains. We began with a group of eight - Tomasz, Jan, Bill S., Chris M., Fred, Harlan, Jorge and myself. It was a hot day (97 in Las Vegas) and since there is almost no shade on the entire hike, it felt even hotter.
One of our group succumbed to the heat and steepness of the hike, another turned back a stone's throw from the summit due to the exposure on the summit ridge, and our leader narrowly survived an attack by an agave! Other than that, it was a terrific hike.
Just before we started, Harlan told a story how he was contacted a while back about information on the Moapa Peak hike, so that a kiosk with information could be placed at the trailhead. It seemed a bizarre use of resources as the trailhead is quite remote. Then we noticed a stake where the the kiosk was to be placed!
From there, we headed through Jack's Pockets, an area with small hills, and headed up a wash. We enjoyed our only five minutes of shade in the deeper parts of the canyon before leaving the wash and making the steep climb up to a saddle.
After a short break, we headed up the ridge towards the imposing face of Moapa Peak. We ascended a short section of class 3 ledges on the way. There is a faint trail for a good part of the way, but it is easy to lose in places. Basically, the route follows the cliffs, then heads up to reach the summit ridgeline.
Then comes the fun part. We climbed the class 3 chute to get on the ridgeline and negotiated the knife-edge ridge for a quarter of a mile or so to reach the summit. It is quite narrow with significant drops on both sides in places. Jan got a bit spooked just short of the summit and Chris and Harlan did a fantastic job helping him (physically and psychologically) get back off the ridge.
We signed in and noted the usual familiar names in the logbook. We ate lunch enjoyed the tremendous views.
After carefully picking way along the knife-edge ridge again, we rejoined Jan and descended. Just before reaching the section of class 3 ledges, in a moment of distraction, I kicked an agave plant. In case you ever have the urge to kick an agave, I would not recommend it. I never saw the needle that lodged itself just above my ankle as it went in quite deep. We considered trying to extract it, but I decided on just taking ibuprofen and hiking out. It was painful at times on the rest of descent, but not too bad. By the time we reached the cars, it had worked its way deeper and there was no sign of it except for the swelling in the area. For those curious, it is still in my leg somewhere; the doctor prescribed antibiotics to fight infection and told me wait and see if it works its way out!
The closer we got to the car, the more spectacular the wildflowers were. Many of blooms that were closed when we passed in the morning, had opened in dazzling fashion - brilliant colors of all shades. We all enjoyed the flowers and so did the bees.
When we got back to the cars, it was quite hot. We piled into the cars and headed home, tired but happy.
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