Where Oh Where Are The Stars?

I love looking at stars at night.  The constellations, shooting stars, just looking up in the magical starry night is something I truly enjoy.  Last time I went camping up in the mountains, I got cloudy skies, lots of rain, no stars. 

Next camping trip, to go up to Cathedral Gorge, about 170 miles from Las Vegas and 100 miles from any city, there will be stars to be seen up there.

We (my two daughters, one of their best friends and I) got started  an hour and a half later than planned.  We got our rented car, packed it up and left.  About 90 outside of Vegas we start seeing greenery and water, and signs for camping.  You know we had to check out the campsites.  We were at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. The campsites are at the upper lake.  Down the dirt road we go looking at the no fee campsites.  

What we found was water, wildlife, and serenity.  We found the perfect camp spot right next to the water.   With a view like this we had to stay the night.

  We watched the birds and dragonflies playing, fish coming to the surface of the lake, and a family of lizards that lived in a fallen tree right behind our campsite. 
As the sun set we took in the view and breathed in the fresh air and took in our little piece of serenity.

   As the sun went down the clouds started rolling in.  We started seeing lightening and hearing thunder far off in the distance. When the sun set completely Mother Nature gave us a a stunning light show, we sat in our chairs and watched.  Lots of lightening, no stars. 
    
There was one big draw back about this beautiful place.  It was right off the highway.  We heard every car, and truck coming and going, it did not make for a restful, peaceful night.  I was up at 4:30 in the morning, everyone else was up buy 5:00.  We ate breakfast, packed the car up and headed out to our original destination, Cathedral Gorge.  

The campsites are not really private but the park is well maintained and they have flush toilets and a clean shower. The park is beautiful and not busy.  When we  got there at 8:30, we were the only ones there. We found our spot, put up our tents, had a snack and went off on a 4 mile hike.  

    
We did get side tracked and went on another trail which led us up to Miller’s Outlook. Once we got back to the trail we went on to look at the “caves”.

    
You can’t get too far into the “caves”, after being out in the heat the temperature change was welcome.

That night more clouds rolled in, we got a little sprinkle but no real rain.  Again no stars, but we did watch an amazing moonrise.   

 The trip was a lot of fun and everyone had a good time.  I’m not too sure I would got back to Cathedral Gorge, but I am glad I went at least once.

   

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Fresh Air And Rain

I have been working on expanding my backpacking starter kit.  First I went to REI during their garage sale to see what bargains I could find.  

 By the time I had the chance to get in things had been pretty picked over.  I did find a smaller pack, to start out with.  It’s a little smaller than I was looking for but I can always get another.  

I also did a bit of shopping online too.  I found a tent and a sleeping bag, for both it was under 80 dollars.  These things are just getting me started on my journey to backpacking.

I finally had some time off of work and wanted to see how some of my stuff that I just bought would do.  My oldest daughter and I had two days off and decided to get away but still remain close to home. My two youngest decided they too wanted to camp.  So up to Mt. Charleston we went right after the 4th of July. We packed my car to the brim and off we went.  Mt. Charleston is a wonderful get away from the Vegas heat in the summer. Many locals go up there to beat the heat.  I didn’t realize at the time we went it was going to be raining during the two days  we were up there. There was some sunshine, but there was definitely more clouds, and rain.

   
   We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits.  We would hunker down in our tents, wait the rain out and gather around the fire which stayed lit even through the rains.  The tent stayed dry during every downpour. My tent is the smaller orange one in the second picture. We even saw hail a couple of times as well. 

   

  It wasn’t quite what we had planned, but we had fun, laughed, played games, and worked together to keep the fire going. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  

I forgot how much I enjoyed getting away and taking deep breaths of fresh air. I think I might go back in a couple of weeks. 

There is more to Las Vegas than casinos

I love to get out every once and awhile and go hiking.  One of my favorite places to go is up to Red Rock Canyon. If you don’t like to hike but want to hike you can drive around the 13 mile loop.  For those of you who want to get out and explore there are many hiking trails out there that range from easy to strenuous and short to longer hikes.  Today I went out with two of my kids and had a wonderful time. I enjoyed nature and was able to start breaking in my new hiking shoes, which I love by the way.  I just want to share with you some of the wildlife and beauty that was on the trail we went on today.  

            

On a side note. I will not be moving to Dallas, TX anytime soon.  The job I wanted wants to give me the same amount of money I make at my current job. Um, no thanks, I want to move up to better things not make lateral moves and uproot my family.

My Backpacking Starter Kit

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do.  There are many places around here in, and around Las Vegas to do that. I have decided to take that one step further and I’m going to start backpacking.  I need to get in better shape and of course I still have to make some major purchases like a pack, tent, sleeping bag to name a few. REI was having a big sale this past week and I bought a few things, very few.  I  am calling it my backpacking starter kit.
  
 I have a ways to go but the wheels are in motion.  My big goal, 2-3 years from now is to hike part of the PCT (pacific crest trail) for about 4-6 weeks.
Update on the possible move to Texas is, there is no update.  The wheels turn slow. 

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