Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mummy Spring

I had a bunch of reasons for getting out of Las Vegas to hike today... 1) the 98 degree high I saw forecasted for today, 2) endless hiking opportunities near the city - Spring Mountains, Sheep Mountains, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead - just to name a few, 3) new shoes (Montrail Masochist) arrived on Friday (love them), and 4) getting used to hiking at altitude for the upcoming Mount Whitney summit over the 4th of July.

Only a 30 minute drive into the Spring Mountains, and I was at the trailhead for the North Loop, with my destination of Mummy Spring along the trail. The thermometer on my car said 60 degrees, and it felt like it - chilly and refreshing. I was really glad to have packed a long-sleeved shirt. Quite a few vehicles parked at the trailhead, but my hike up was fairly quiet besides the birds and the wind. The trail switchbacks through forest of ponderosa pine, white fir, mountain mahogany, and the oldest living thing on earth, bristlecone pine, but there are plenty of openings with great views of the valleys below, including North Las Vegas. I really liked being able to see the change landscape and habitat types.Bristlecone pines may be my new favorite tree. They're stout and sturdy looking and really gnarly, with twisty branches. There's a really neat section of the hike where the trail crests a pass, and the hiker gets her first glimpse of Mummy Peak, very impressive, but even better, the trail drops a little bit and runs right through this "gate" of bristlecone pines. I loved it.Doing some reading, the trail continues to Kyle Canyon and access to summit Mount Charleston. Figure I'll save that 20-mile roundtrip hike for a weekend backpack trip. So here was my final destination, which I'm guessing was running better than normal because of the extra snow during late winter storms.Hike summary... Round trip = ~6 miles Elevation range = 8401-9983 feet

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