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Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Night in the Mountains

To celebrate my 55th birthday this weekend I spent the night in Mt. Charleston Lodge, a grouping of cabins facing that mountain, which is in the Spring Mountains, which is a recreational area and national forest. After living here for a year and a half, I still can't get used to having mountains in my view whichever way I look. New Jersey had mountains, but they were hills compared to these.

Nevada is a mountainous state, which might surprise some. It is thought of as a desert, but it is a desert with mountains. Las Vegas is in a valley, surrounded by mountains on all sides. Mount Charleston lies to the west, on the way to Reno.

The mountain, which is still snow-covered as of today, is the most prominent peak in Nevada, and the eighth so in the contiguous U.S. (this is measured by the peak to the lowest contour line around it). There are many recreation opportunities--Las Vegas head up here in winter for snow-related fun like skiing and sledding. In the summer it is routinely thirty degrees cooler than the stifling heat of Vegas, so is a great place to visit. The only thing missing is a body of water. If there was a lake it would be heaven.

That being said, it is great place. It only takes a drive of a little less than a hour. The elevation (11,000 feet) can be felt when the ears pop, both going up and going down. The air is clean and fresh, and the peaks stand like sentinels, impassively welcoming you.

I got a room with a really nice view (seen above). It was a tad cold to spend to much time on the porch, but I kept being drawn to it. If you look closely, there are residences in the photo, as there is a small town (technically part of Las Vegas) with a lot of second homes up in them thar hills. There's another thing to get should I ever hit it rich).

I have never had a problem with solitude. After a picnic lunch with my girlfriend and her kids, I was left to my own devices. There is no TV reception and no Wi-Fi, so I made do with my Kindle and a copy of Taxi Driver (which I will discuss tomorrow). My phone ran out of power and I realized I had no way to know what time it was, so I have no idea when I went to bed.

I had resolved not to spend any time thinking about work (I am a school teacher) so of course I dreamt about it. It was a troubling dream, too, about what to assign my students. So I woke up, on my birthday, in this beautiful place, in something of a bad mood.

I hope to go back again this summer, if only to beat the heat for a day or two.

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