HAYFORD PEAK (9,912') AND MT. STIRLING (8,218') September 23-24, 1995

To start a new season of desert peaking, we carpooled through Las Vegas, enroute to a double climb in the mountains nearby. Stopping for dinner, we chose a casino buffet which was said to be the best, by some. Our car camp that night made a stay highly removed from civilization.

Only four of us joined the leaders for this weekend. We hiked up a gated, dirt road through a scenic canyon, with cliffs and then pine trees, here in the Sheep Range to the north of Vegas. Running into a scout group headed out, we found a smouldering campfire they had probably failed to douse out at all. Coming to a lone cabin, we headed cross-country up toward the summit. Taking a gully, we topped out after 5 hours total. A solar panel marked the highpoint.

We began our hike back after pictures, and spent more time at the cabin.

The afternoon light was better for photographs of the many cliffs and rocks along this canyon. Back to the trucks by 4:12 p.m., we stopped briefly at the kiosk for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Meant mostly for bighorn sheep, this is the biggest NWR in the lower 48.

We had a nice sun behind the clouds. A dinner in a casino at Indian Springs was followed by a car camp nearby.

The next morning, we found and motored up the rough road toward Mt. Stirling. This is indeed a non-descript peak, a lone outpost on the north end of the Spring Mountains. I am interested in this summit as excellent rock art graces the area. From a point on the road, we hiked up cross-country pretty much straight to the top.

We spent a good while, and I shot dozens of slides. Then, due to the long drive home for all of us, we hiked back down to reach the cars at 12:23 p.m. We had a look back at the peaks.

Rich and I chose to drive all the way home this same day, along U.S. 95. Tonopah, NV, and more mountain ranges, made for photos in the late afternoon and evening. I never hardly thought I would ever do these peak climbs. Again, what opportunity fate brings!