Mount Charleston

morning 2

My daughter and I, have spent every weekend for the past year hiking, either in Lassen Volcanic National Park, or around Mt. Shasta, in northern California. We moved to Las Vegas in August, and we are searching for new favorite places. This past weekend we started to explore Mount Charleston. Mount Charleston is part of the Spring Mountain Range, and Toiyabe National Forest. Charleston Peak, at 11,916 feet (3,632 m), is the highest mountain in the Spring Mountains. Mount Charleston is located about 35 miles NW of Las Vegas. It’s a refreshing, green, alpine heaven. Last weekend when the temperatures peaked at 109 in Las Vegas, it was 30 degrees cooler there! Only an hour away. One hour, and several thousand feet of elevation that is. 

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The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The winding roads that takes you there, climbs steadily up, up, up. It was fairly easy to drive all the way to the campgrounds without a 4×4. My daughter had begged me for an adventure, so tent camping it was. She LOVES that. She loves setting up the tent, and create a cool spot for the night. She likes decorating the outside with natural material that she finds, pine cones, rocks etc. My hope was to get us a campsite at Fletcher View Campground, based on reviews at trip advisor, and trails I found at AllTrails app. When we got there all the sites were full. You can’t make reservations in advance from July through September, due to monsoon season. It’s first come first serve only. The gentleman who served as a camp host, approach the car as I drove in to Fletcher View, and asked how he could assist us. I said that we were looking for a tent campsite. He informed us that all of the sites on the whole  mountain (several campgrounds) were taken. (In my head I started to think of a plan B, since we were already packed and VERY ready for an adventure.) He offered us a map, and pointed out a couple places for dispersed camping. Areas where we could camp by ourselves, without an organized campground. He gave us a map, and as I looked at it, I thought that if I had driven my old truck, it would of been a no-brainer, but risking to go on those roads with my Impala..no. 

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I decided to drive by the other campsites, one by one, just in case. My second choice of campground, after Fletcher view, was Hilltop, so I started our search by driving up there. I was not alone. There was a long line of vehicles doing the same thing as I did. All sites were booked. As I drive around Hilltop for the second time, I notice that one of the double sites only have single occupancy. I see a young couple on the right side, but no-one on the left side of this double site. I take a chance and pull over on the side of the narrow road. I approach them and ask if they are expecting company, explaining that all sites are booked. This was on the very top of the hill, at perhaps the best spot of them all. We were so lucky! They were not expecting company, they just got the only site they were able to get, and sold me the other site. I was thrilled, and my daughter very happy. I was almost prepared to drive down the mountain and do something completely different. (Like going to Sedona, or Grand Canyon.) It was great to be able to unload all our things, and put up the tent. 

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My highlight of the whole trip was that my daughter needed to go places to take pictures. Both with the camera that I got her for her birthday, and with mine. She begged me to hike up on different hills, and climb down in narrow canyons. It was a blast! She on the other hand said, that her best thing was toasting marshmallows by the campfire at night. 

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It was chilly in the evening, and it felt great to put on a jacket, and long pants (compared to shorts and t-shirt, the usual summer outfit in our area.)

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The whole trip was a big adventure, and I am so happy that we did it. I would consider myself an experienced camper, and I feel that my skills are solid. Still it feels extremely good when everything just works out. Not a big thing, but in a way a big thing. I want my daughter to see, and experience, that there is not a limit to what’s possible. She wants an adventure? Well, she has to make it happen, and put in the work along with the fun. Which she happily did. I feel that there’s no limit to learning opportunities when you bring a child out in nature; handling a knife, gaining knowledge about poisonous plants and animals, learning about local flora and fauna, safety, wilderness survival skills, where to find water, planning ahead, leave no trace in nature, sharing with others, being respectful etc. etc.  

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My daughter took this picture of me and Gretchen, while playing around with my camera. I haven’t seen the ones she took with her own camera yet.

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Tent camping at Mount Charleston (NV,) was a 5-star experience in my book. Nature does something to my soul, and I know my daughter feels the same way. I feel so blessed that we share this.

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I hope you enjoyed the photos, and maybe feel inspired to visit yourself? If camping is your thing, do you have a favorite camping spot? That you find yourself returning to time after time again? 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

16 thoughts on “Mount Charleston

  1. What a beautiful experience that must have been! I have yet to actually visit Mt. Charleston or the nearby canyons. Tent camping being one of my own favoured ways of spending the night, when on the road, it’s only a matter of time, before I am there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you found your mountain Zen close by, Maria! It looks beautiful and amazing to think it’s elevation is over 11K! I haven’t been into the mountains much this year, too busy to even make the 30 minute drive up toward Placerville, but we managed to spend a day in Auburn. I really want to got to Lake Tahoe this fall, so hopefully we can swing a short weekend overnight stay. As always, your photos are stunning and your daughter looks very content to have you close!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on the successful move Maria, and on the new website name! Of course, you’ve already been busy exploring the nature around Las Vegas…I love that and the lessons you’ve been teaching your daughter on her adventures. I’ve yet to hike around Mt. Charleston, but I’ll be following your trail and camping advice when I’m next in the area.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So nice to see your post! I often wonder how it is going with you. 🙂
    Your weekend getaway sounds wonderful– the weather and views, superb. Being so close to Vegas, it makes an easy escape.
    Your daughter is becoming an impressive outdoors woman. 😉 The photo of her taking a pic and checking it is so dear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eliza 🙏 it is a huge change from living in Northern California, that’s for sure. I am still trying to find that perfect balance. Some days is easier than others. There’s many great benefits of living here, and I’m focusing on those. Being able to go to the mountains is fabulous. Thank you for being such a great friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How special to have a camping trip with your daughter in such a beautiful place! I can see how you’ve instilled in her a love of nature and the outdoors, such a gift. So glad to hear everyone is adjusting to the move. I look forward to reading about your local explorations, don’t know too much about the area. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙏 it was very special. It makes me feel grateful for all the time we spent together in nature, since before she was born, leading up to being able to enjoy a simple camping trip together. It really is all about experiences. Cheers to a magical fall with lots of amazing experiences with our daughters 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like a great adventure. It’s great that there are cool mountain peaks so close to the hot city. You need to explore some of the back roads to see if those more remote camp sites are accessible to you in your car. I hope you are out having another adventure today!

    Liked by 1 person

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