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My nine-day desert roadtrip wasn't exactly that. It was really a 3-day volleyball tournament in Las Vegas that I happen to surround with three days before and another three days after, my "travel days" while my wife and daughter flew in and out of Sin City. I picked them up at the airport the day prior, drove them to the hotel, to the VB venue and various shopping stops to get things that had been forgotten and watched more estrogen-fueled VB than one man is legally allowed to before Cruel and Unusual Punishment laws come into effect. Ok, it's not all that bad, but only because my daughter is actually playing and one can't help but root for one's gene pool to win. I really feel sorry for those parents that come all this way, only to see their daughter get no play time.
Anyway, it was somewhat difficult to be in Las Vegas and not getting to do what most sane people come to Vegas for - hiking and climbing. With so many fabulous mountains surrounding the glitzy urban cesspool, one can't help but be drawn to them. While I wait in line to use a port-a-potty outside the World Market Center where the games are played, the snowy summits of Mt. Charleston wink at me in the distance. The fantastically colored Red Rocks are closer yet and even more alluring. I drove some folks back to the hotel after the last match and sat around the hotel room with my daughter until she had to run off and join her teammates for dinner around 4p. I could stand it no longer and set out in search of some small mountain to climb. Lone Mountain fit the bill nicely. Located in the NW corner of the suburban sprawl, development has encroached upon this standalone summit on all sides, but left the mountain alone for the most part. My semi-random driving took a wrong turn down Las Vegas Blvd and the heart of The Strip, costing me a 20min delay to go a single mile, subjecting me to the mass of humanity on foot and in their steel chariots, horns blaring, people yelling, lights flashing and hotel-casinos soaring to dizzying heights on either side. In another mood I might have just taken it all in as one of life's unusual experiences, but I was on a mission to get somewhere completely different and thought I was in hell. Or close to it.
It was nearly 5p by the time I reached the east side of Lone Mtn where a fairly new community park abuts it. So new, in fact, that they had fences separating the park from the mountain - it seems portions of the park were still under construction and they didn't want people to go through it. But I could see people on the other side of the fences, others at the summit 700ft above, I just wasn't sure how one accesses it. A man at the park with his family guessed my intentions and offered all sorts of advice about where to drive to get around the fences. It seemed overly complicated. Then his wife said, "We saw some people just go over the fences." I thanked him for his time and simply went over the fences myself. I didn't really mind driving a little further, but I had been intrigued by the route straight up the East Side, probably the quickest way to the top (I'm told a trail winds its way to the top from the other side, but I wasn't really interested in that. The mountain is primarily limestone and has excellent rock which makes for a very fine scramble. I took but 15min to climb to the top where I found about a dozen folks hanging around enjoying a marvelous sunset. The sun had set over the city below when I arrived, but was still casting a light glow on Frenchman Mtn on the far east side, 20mi away. Another 15min saw me back to the park below, just as the high clouds above were fading from pink to purple to gray. A very short outing indeed (I spent twice as much time driving back and forth) and not a place to go for solitude from the Las Vegas denizens, but well worth the effort, if just to feel the grip of sharp limestone under one's boots...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Lone Mountain
This page last updated: Tue Feb 16 20:30:23 2016
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