Black Mountain

by Marcel on November 5, 2018

When most people think of Las Vegas they think of bright lights and drunken nights, but the city is surrounded by mountains on all sides which make for some great wilderness areas and hiking. We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance to Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area which has a nice mountain range full of trails and some ancient petroglyphs. Black mountain can be seen from most places in the valley, and I see it every day when I walk our doggie Mulder. The trailhead is only about a 5 mile drive from our house so it’s pretty convenient. Overall the trail is about 7 miles roundtrip and approximately 2000 elevation gain. Mulder and I attempted this hike last year in the spring, but the last part near the top got a little too steep for the senior doggie dude. Recently I went back alone to make the summit and take some time getting some good photos.

For anyone interested in this trail the parking lot is small with room for only about 5 cars, and its located within a suburb neighborhood. The trail starts out paved for the first half mile or so, then you take a right towards a brick building and from there hike towards the summit where you will see the beginning of the black mountain trail. There are plenty of sites online or guide books that give more detail about the route. The trail is pretty easy for most of the way up with only the last half mile or so being difficult with some mild scrambling involved. You can really do this without using your hands at all but it depends on the route you take at the top since the trail isn’t as clearly defined up there. Be sure to use GPS or an app like strava so you can find your way back down.

The trail includes all the usual desert suspects like creosote bushes, cactus, and half way up the trail you will start to see Joshua trees. There were plenty of lizards, and probably rattlesnakes but I didn’t see any of those today. There were some desert mice living at the summit and after dark you will hear the coyotes howling. I hiked this in mid-October starting late around 3pm, it took just under 3 hours to reach the summit which was not ideal but great for sunset photos. I descended from the summit past the steep part just before complete darkness. From there it was headlamp and flashlight time all the way down. The mountainside is pretty wide open without a lot of brush or trees and I’ve never seen deer in this area so I wasn’t too concerned about mountain lions, but there are mountain sheep in this area so you never know. The bigger concern was snakes and potentially running into a pack of coyotes, but fortunately that didn’t happen. The view of the city lights on the way down was spectacular. With some photo breaks it took about 2 hours to get back down.

Overall this is one of my favorite hikes in the Vegas area. The views of the city are great from the summit and even halfway up the trail. It’s nice to see some Joshua trees so close to the city, even if there are just a few here and there. The summit has great views to the other side of Henderson and all the way to Arizona. There aren’t any petroglyphs on this trail, but nearby Sloan Canyon has a nice loop hike where you see those, however the views of the city aren’t as good from that trail. If you have already been to Lake Mead, Valley of Fire, and Red Rock Canyon then Black Mountain is a great hike to do in the fall or spring.

 

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No reservations

by Marcel on June 8, 2018

Like everyone else, I woke up to the sad news that Anthony Bourdain has checked out. Celebrities can be a huge influence in our lives, but when it comes down to it we really don’t know these people at all. With Bourdain it seemed a little different though, because he was so raw and personal. He was on our TV screens for years talking to us and guiding us through his culinary travel adventures just like an old buddy telling us stories of their trips overseas. You really felt as if you knew him like a coworker or friend. Some of the things he did or said weren’t always politically correct, but that’s because he wasn’t some polished celebrity with an image he was trying to sell. Instead he acted unapologetically as himself, which is what made him so interesting, relatable, and ultimately successful; maybe more successful than he ever wanted to be.

We may never know the reasons he decided to write his own ending in a hotel room in Paris, and that surely is not the finale anyone wanted for him or anyone else for that matter. However, he certainly did live a life full of adventure and shared a big part of himself through his writings and TV shows, which is why so many people around the world appreciate the work he did and will genuinely miss him. I think as a tribute to his contributions to food and travel culture, that from now on when people are out enjoying a good meal while they are traveling, whether it’s in a dive bar or a 5-star restaurant, it should forevermore be known as “bourdaining”.

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Viva Las Vegas!

by Marcel January 2, 2017 Local News

Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was a crazy year that I think most people will be happy to move on from including us. For me 2016 included working, studying, and then more working and studying, with not much time for anything else. It all paid off though, I’m happy to say that in October I […]

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