Bad Deeds, Gritty Peaks, Sea Creatures and Rooftops

Listen to “Harm and Boom” by Balmorhea

Daydreaming is central to the explorer mindset. Here at the desk I often drift off  through the window, imagining myself perched up on the summit of some mountain sipping bourbon. Other times I put myself  in the unkempt transitions and erased spaces that lie at the end of cities so that they should not be forgotten or discredited. Then move past into the bellowing real estate that has, in the short term, avoided the clawing consumption of municipal monstrosities.

View out the window from the desk in my home. The summit of Cheyenne Mountain is through the trees.

In these forlorn lands we must tend to the views that sit in front of millions, days on end, with no preference to be seen, saved or damaged.  We should move up above the congested air and breathe deep in the knowledge that, for at least a moment, you alone sit above it all. All the tragedy and loss. All the jealousy and ignorance. All the greed and destruction. Then while up there glaring out over the city you should allow your thoughts to state “Let them swim in the foul muck. Let them pretend that purpose is preserved in the concrete, asphalt and stucco. Let them squint and amuse themselves with wonderment over your whatfor on this lofty abode”.

+ 0.14/2945' Elev/11:48pm/3.28.12
At the base of Cheyenne Mtn. It lies on BLM land and there is no designated trail. This is just wasted space at the edge of Las Vegas.

+ 0.30 miles/3066' Elev/12:01pm/3.28.12
Starting the ascent. Looking back at the city and Lone Mountain, Elev 3342'.

+ 0.47 miles/3297' Elev/12:16pm/3.28.12
A turn towards the east reveals the Vegas Strip.

+ 0.50 miles/3353' Elev/12:24pm/3.28.12
Looking North with Gass Peak in the distance. My house is down there.

Strolling along mountain ridges so close to the city is an amusing activity. The disparity between expectation and reality is bold and complete. Barking dogs, throaty engines and sirens drift up to become odd and off kilter to the ears as they interweave with wispy winds, gleeful birds and shuffling feet. Barrel Cactus, Yucca, Creosote and Limestone all play their role in the desert scene while the roads, homes, cars and buildings furnish a human element. Look to one side for an expanse of peaks, ridges and canyons stretching to the horizon. Then shift your gaze to the other and an urban landscape is dumped in front of you.

+ 0.62 miles/3529' Elev/12:38pm/3.28.12
On the ridge now looking North. Yucca Peak of the Sheep Mountains within the Desert National Wildlife Range sits far in the distance.

An opposing view taken Jan 2, 2011 from the summit of Yucca Peak looking towards Cheyenne Mtn.

+0.67 miles/3563' Elev/12:43pm/3.28.12
Looking South along the ridge towards the summit of Cheyenne Mtn. The 215 Beltway and a scar from a failed neighborhood are visible. Red Rock Canyon and the La Madre Range are out of view to the right.

+ 0.69 miles/3580' Elev/12:42pm/3.28.12
A view on the other side of Cheyenne Mtn. Potosi Mountain is visible on the horizon.

+ 0.74 miles/ 3767' Elev/1:03pm/3.28.12
My dog on the middle summit.

+ 0.78 miles/3664' Elev/1:12pm/3.28.12
Dropping down off of the middle summit.

+ 0.82 miles/3624' Elev/1:22pm/3.28.12
Walking along ridge looking at summit of Cheyenne Mtn. Las Vegas in the background.

The glassy sharp Limestone found around the Las Vegas Valley was formed horizontally at the bottom of ancient seas some 600-250 million years ago. It is made up mostly from the bits and pieces of plankton, precipitates, and suspended sediment. Also to a lesser degree, out of dead fish, seaweeds and shells. It is a common form of grey and gritty earth found stuck and stout in the desert panoramas and while primarily not, it can contain fossiliferous material. Surprisingly, here on Cheyenne Mountain, fossils are found in abundance consisting of corals and mollusks.

Rugose Coral

Rugose Coral

Mollusk Fossil near the summit of Cheyenne Mountain with Las Vegas in the background.

Mollusk Fossil in Limestone

Syringopora Coral

Rugose Corral

Rugose Coral

A strip of fossils

Is that a sharks tooth?

Rugose Coral

Rugose Coral

We humans must touch everything. We feel inclined in every aspect of our lives to meddle and tinker with our surroundings. To leave it as is must mean we have been defeated by nature, tortured by time and embarrassed by fate. Even here up on this insignificant summit someone was inclined to build a substantial rock wall to hide behind. Whoever was inspired to do this, I must say I am impressed with your fortitude.

+ 1.02 miles/3646' Elev/1:45pm/3.28.12
A camp spot surrounded by rock.

+ 1.02 miles/3646' Elev/1:48pm/3.28.12
Closer inspection of the wall.

+ 1.02 miles/3646' Elev/1:50pm/3.28.12
From above.

Today just had that feel to it, kind of drab and dull. The skies were flat and low, the air still and the sounds muted. It took a bit of internal debate to get going this morning and after the last cup of coffee I was finally inclined. All said, it was the perfect atmosphere for an urban themed adventure. Attached and infused with metropolitan presence. Tinged with ancient insignia and soured by the mustering of men.

+ 1.22 miles/3596' Elev/1:50pm/3.28.12
A last look at the summit before heading down.

+ 1.32 miles/3446' Elev/2:10pm/3.28.12
Heading down.

The deeds of men are entombed with sin, preset and determined by time. Evidence of which comes trampled and ripe with death. It’s as if clowns have roamed uncouth and haphazardly through the edges of towns laying their reeking breath upon the ground. So much are the edges of this city ruined by gold trimmed assholes born from ignorance that I come to expect the dissatisfaction of my fellow man as commonplace. More so, it is the acceptance of my own opinion that worries me the most.

This belongs here.

Oh ya, that looks nice right there.

Burnt and beautiful

Looks like they tried to crawl away. They didn't make it.

Where the city ends and the desert begins.

End Desert Begin City…


5 comments on “Bad Deeds, Gritty Peaks, Sea Creatures and Rooftops

  1. whitneypeak says:

    So close yet so far for so many ~ great stuff.

  2. Great Post – Great Photos – thanks for sharing!

  3. Charissa says:

    I had no clues there were fossils out there. I’ve seen them at the Grand Canyon, but never thought to look in my old stomping grounds. Of course, I was never hiking the barren hills like those. I love the burnt cactus pictures. Those are amazing!

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