2020 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Oh, 2020. You seemed so nice when we first met. You were fun for two months, then you turned ugly. Real ugly. A plague and a recession and wildfires and an election and continuing drought. Yes sir, you threw quite a bit of hurt at us! Yes you did! But we survived. And The LovedOne remained photogenic while social distancing from others kept her within camera range.


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Tule Springs Fossil Beds (Nevada) 22-Jan-2020

Tule Springs Fossil Beds, Nevada

Years ago, I was working at what was then the Nevada Test Site and we briefly contemplated moving to Las Vegas, Nevada. That was before it became the massive urban sprawl it is today. But even then we were looking at places out of town, up north near Mount Charleston. I recall leaving the Vegas city limits and driving north on I-95 through actual open desert before we reached the turn-off for Charleston. Well, those days are gone. I-95 now bisects a solid sea of beige box houses (with more being built) all the way out to the turn-off.

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Historic Railroad Trail (Lake Mead NRA) 20-Jan-2020

Historic Railroad Trail, Lake Mead NRA, Nevada

A broken foothold, and subsequent back injury, brought last year’s hiking adventure outside Las Vegas to an abrupt – and painful – halt. Now, with my back working again, we decided to return to Nevada to finish some of the hikes we missed last year. It should be noted that none of this year’s hikes involved climbing on wet, weak sandstone. 😡

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2019 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Another year passes and The LovedOne remains unconvinced as to her photogenicity. Her attempts to out-hike the camera were working…until…I bought a telephoto lens! Ha! Another (probably temporary) victory for technology!


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Fire Canyon Wash Loop (Nevada) 21-Jan-2019

For our fourth (and last) hike in the Las Vegas area, we drove northwest out to Valley of Fire State Park. The park, being a state enterprise, was not shutdown by the federal foolishness but a local power outage had disabled the visitor center’s gift shop. So we pressed on – to a hike we’d found on the Hiking Project that started at the Mouse’s Tank Trailhead and looped around cross-country to the Silica Dome parking area, with some interesting scrambling enroute. There’s an established trail through Petroglyph Canyon to Mouse’s Tank, a depression in the sandstone that collects water. Along the way we passed four big horn sheep that were so indifferent to people that they actually “posed” for us.

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Sloan Canyon Petroglyphs (Nevada) 20-Jan-2019

Sloan Canyon, our third hike near Las Vegas, is home to the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, a large collection of Native American petroglyphs. This site is within the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area just south of Henderson, Nevada. It used to require lots of gravel driving to reach it until the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) built a paved access road from Henderson and installed a visitor contact station (which was closed thanks to the shutdown o_O ).

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Redstone Peaks (Nevada) 19-Jan-2019

For our second hike near Las Vegas, we picked a short, but steep, cross-country route to the Redstone Peaks in the Pinto Valley Wilderness. This wilderness lies within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which was open despite the federal shutdown. But no fees were being collected and there were no rangers on duty if we’d needed help. We didn’t but it’s still a stupid way to run a government. 😡

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White Rock Loop (Nevada) 18-Jan-2019

Allegiant Airlines now offers direct service between Medford, Oregon and Las Vegas, Nevada. We decided to give this low-cost airline a try so we could do some hiking in the Las Vegas vicinity. Our flights were great and the tickets cheap but they charge extra for everything else, so “low-cost” can quickly lose its “low” component. Still, they replaced four days of driving with two hours of flying so we think it was worth it. This is also the quick way to reach Death Valley, another favorite hiking location.

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Wheeler Peak (Nevada) 16-Sep-2017

Wheeler Peak Great Basin National Park Nevada

Another goal for our visit to Great Basin National Park was a hike to the summit of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak. This is the highest peak in the Park and the second highest in Nevada, the first being 13,147-foot Boundary Peak [climbed in 1985] near the California border.  State boosters are quick to point out that, since part of Boundary Peak slops into California, Wheeler Peak is the tallest peak entirely within Nevada (so there!).  There is also some glowering when the uninformed confuse Nevada’s number two Wheeler Peak with New Mexico’s highest point [climbed in 1993] which is – wait for it – also named Wheeler Peak (good old George M. Wheeler sure got around).  Anyway, the climb of Nevada’s Wheeler Peak is a straightforward hike on a clear and easily followed trail, the only tricks being the weather and the altitude (the hike is all above 10,000 feet).  Fortunately, we were able to wait for good weather and we’d also spent a couple of days acclimating elsewhere in Nevada.

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Great Basin National Park (Nevada) 15-Sep-2017

Great Basin National Park Nevada

Another goal for our roadtrip to Nevada to escape wildfire smoke in Southern Oregon was a visit to Great Basin National Park, which is located about 60 miles east of Ely, Nevada. We’d tried this twice before, only to be turned away by lingering snow in one instance and crowds from a car race in another.  This late in the summer snow was not an issue and we were just plain lucky in avoiding conflicts with the car race, which was (yet again) running during our visit.  Because the weather was not initially supportive of a Wheeler Peak hike (the park’s highest point and the second highest point in Nevada), we spent our first day in the park touring and visiting some of its other attractions, like the Lehman Caves and the Osceola Ditch.

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Ruby Mountains Wilderness (Nevada) 13-Sep-2017

Ruby Mountains Wilderness Nevada

This hike was part of a hastily arranged roadtrip to Nevada to escape the wildfire smoke that was smothering Southern Oregon.  It was also an opportunity for me to visit a few localities I’d missed in years past, such as the Ruby Mountains Wilderness, which is located on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest about 30 miles southeast of Elko, Nevada.

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