A gamble too big for Las Vegas

August 18, 2005

The prospect of climbing Kilimanjaro has left me scared. Really scared. I read this great story about some other people taking the same climb and it did nothing to sooth my worry. I have lost 15 lbs. but I have a bunch more to go. While it is rewarding to have hit my first milestone, I still have a lot of work to do. I have been hiking frequently seeking out opportunities everywhere I can. I want to be sure to give Kilimanjaro my best.

Recently, I went to Colorado and climbed from 8500 feet to 10,000 feet past Ouzel Falls to Lake Ouzel (see our photos). I climbed Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire. I took a hike outside Santa Barbara in California. I hiked the 9 miles of rolling hills in blue hills here in MA. Last weekend I even went camping, hiking 21 miles over 2 days with a 35 pound pack in the White Mountains! However, most amazing of all is that on my last trip to Las Vegas I went hiking.

Prior to this trip, I thought Las Vegas consisted solely of “The Strip” and its lesser sister the strip tease, err I mean “Fremont St.” I was amazed to learn that just 45 Minutes from Las Vegas there were real live mountains. My friend Dan, his friend Sandra and I climbed from 7,700 feet to 10,700 seeking the Griffith Peak Summit before the thunder made us turn around. We were all a little dissapointed not to have made the summit, but it was a great hike.

We went along the South Loop trail around the base of Echo Cliffs. We followed the base of one wall than up the other of a “side canyon” with Echo Cliffs on our right and the Harris Saddle trail running up the ridge on our left.

Eventually, we got to Echo Overlook, where we met a charming 79 year old and his wife just enjoying a pleasant walk (at a pace at least 20% faster than our own). They were a nice couple and told us how last year they had walked this route every week just for a little exercise. Later it came out that he had recently qualified for and run the Boston marathon. I hope I am doing half as well at 79.

Then we headed up to the saddle between Griffith Peak, our intended destination and Mt. Charleston (another 1000 feet above Griffith and several miles further). That’s where the thunderstorms forced us to turn tail and run down the mountain as fast as we could without slipping off the edge. If we doubted that lightening could hit the trail we needed only look at the still smoldering tree from the previous night’s storm that we passed on the way up. Lighting is a not a gamble I am interested in taking, even inVegas.

Photos from the hike are available here.

1 Comment »

  1. You don’t even have to go that far out of Vegas to find a nice nature hike — Red Rock Canyon is just a few minutes outside the city. I vaguely recall sitting in quiet terror on top of one of the ledges there.

    Comment by John — August 19, 2005 @ 3:43 pm

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