Tag Archives: Cathedral Rock Picnic Area

Mount Charleston-The Heat Escape

I apologize for not doing any entries for awhile.  I have been fighting cancer and have found myself kept extremely busy with that.  That has kept me stuck in Las Vegas, when I would rather be in cooler places (both temperature and activity wise).  Locals who cannot truly escape the heat in the valley, head for Mount Charleston.  I have done that twice in recent weeks just to be somewhere cooler.  We have now had 29 days in a row of 100+ temperatures, with the highest being 114 degrees.  I for one cannot stand the 114 dry days and would rather have 105 humid days.  Monsoons are here and we have just come off of a few days with rainstorms.  That means that one part of town may have torrential downpours, while another area doesn’t even get a drop.  There was a really cool pictures taken of a torrential downpour west of the airport, by someone in a plane.  I saw it on facebook.  Wish I could take credit for that one.  At any rate, a friend and I headed for the mountain one day when it was 113 in the valley.  We first stopped at the new and now open Spring Mountains Visitor Center.  Well done!  Unique to this visitor’s center is a mangled propeller from a plane that crashed in the area.  This is meant as a memorial, as are a couple of other items they have outside the visitor’s center.

We continued up to the top of Kyle Canyon where there are a lot of residences and Cathedral Rock which is part of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.   Cathedral Rock is a picnic area, hiking area and possibly a camping area.Moving back down the hill partially, we took the connecting road over to Lee Canyon and headed to the top there.  Surprisingly, we found a lot of horses grazing on the grass in the ski area and the meadows.  I knew there were wild horses at the top of the mountain, but I had never thought of them coming down near the people that might be around.  We got to wait on the road for awhile, so that construction season could occur on the road.  But ultimately, we got what we came for.  The temperature outside under somewhat overcast skies was 78 degrees-much more enjoyable than 113.  As we coasted down the mountain, I noticed there were a lot of horse trailers parked in one of the parking areas.    I found out later that there are trails and parking specifically for the horses.  I also imagine that many horse owners take their horses up there where they won’t suffer heat stroke when they are exercised.

Today, I went to lunch with my mother-in-law and decided maybe it would be nice to go up the mountain again.  It was only headed for 100 degrees today in the valley-but it was a slightly humid 100 as we are on the tail end of those monsoons.   Well the skies were blue with really nice clouds today, so I got some pictures of that.  We only saw 3 horses total this time, but the weather was devine. The top of Lee Canyon has extensive camping areas and the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.  During the summer, the ski area (for a charge) runs one of their chair lifts for those who want to get up to a higher elevation. At the top of Lee Canyon, it was windy and the temperature was 66 degrees.  Wow-and of course I had to drive back down to the 100 degrees in the valley.

 

Mount Charleston-A Real Visit

Another friend and I are both trying to do more with photography.  One of the things I love to take pictures of is snowy weather and after the snow falls.  Mount Charleston is only a 30 minute drive to the top.  We can definitely see the snow on the mountain when it does snow.  Getting up there to take pictures right after the snow is often challenging, since I can only do it on weekends and she can only do it on certain varied days.  One day we both could go and decided to do just that.  It was supposed to be snowing on the mountain on a Sunday morning, so off we went hoping for the best, armed with our cameras, snow chains, water and blankets just in case.

We stopped everywhere we saw a potential picture, including our high desert plants.  Now mind you, everytime it does snow, the snow disappears over the next several days-at least in the accessible places.  The very top of the mountain where we can’t get to stays white and can be seen down in the valley.  Well, it was snowing and it was cold.

What is this anyway?

What is this anyway?

So after taking some pictures and checking out Cathedral Rock Group Picnic Area, we headed in for some hot chocolate at the Mount Charleston Lodge.  Mount Charleston Lodge has a limited number of cabins for use year round.  Sitting near the fire and looking across the way with the snowflakes coming down was quite calming, as we planned the next shots we would take. Out the door we went to take more shots at that location, then headed partway down the hill-taking some more pics as we went down.

Connected Trees

Connected Trees

Halfway down the mountain, you can find The Resort on Mount Charleston which is larger and is a nice stopping point in either direction.  The Resort on Mount Charleston has more rooms available in a lodge type hotel.  Both on on Kyle Canyon Road.  What is brand new up the mountain is a US Forest Service Visitor Center. It is so new, it isn’t even open yet. But checking it out, we saw that there is plenty of parking and even “bus” parking.  What on earth do they have in mind for this visitor center.  I can’t wait to see what they do with this.

New Visitor Center

New Visitor Center

The other thing that is new to both Kyle and Lee Canyons is a round about on both of them.  A round about?  Really?  Drivers in Las Vegas are not known for handling round abouts very well.  We do have our share, particularly up in Summerlin.  This could be downright entertaining.  Oh well.  We headed across the connecting road to Lee Canyon and tried to check out the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.  We couldn’t get up there where more snow was located.  Turns out there is paid parking.  So we turned around and headed on toward Floyd Lamb Park for our next session of snapping photos.  Did we see the snow that we really wanted to see?  No-it was there on Monday when we were both stuck at our jobs.  Did we have some fun?  Yes-definitely!