Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mt. Moriah Trip Report

About 11 years ago I asked Howard Booth about Mt. Moriah and he said the hike was not that great and I have to agree with him. Over this past weekend (7-17 thro 7-19), Action Boy, Debbie (skinny), Jorge, Olexandra , Kathy and I traveled to Great Basin National Park in Nevada and hiked Mt. Moriah. It's not actually in the park, but just south of it.

We had a difficult time finding the trailhead due to poor directions (turn near the ranch? How about before or after, not near) and it was dark by the time we finished eating in Baker, NV and drove to the trailhead. We finally made it and set up camp next to Hampton Creek, a near perfect campsite and one we had to ourselves.

We got up early Saturday morning and hit the trail before 7 am. A thick forest provided lots of shade as we made our way up the canyon passing tons of wildflowers. Kathy took one of the best flower photos I have seen. The trail follows Hampton Creek until cutting across The Table, a huge plateau sitting 11,000 feet in the air. This was the highlight of the hike for me.

Our difficulties began at the far side of the Table. The guidebook was just plain wrong and later we realized the author had never done this hike. (What a concept a guidebook author actually doing the hikes he writes about!) We finally just took ascending a ridge which was rich with photo opportunities. We soon met up with the trail and continued on our way.

The trail ends abruptly some 400 feet below the summit. It's a steep scree climb to the peak. As soon as I reached the summit, I saw two flashes of lightning nearby. That was it. I descended quickly to the trail below and the others followed. Luckily just a few raindrops fell during our descent to the trailhead. Panorama from the summit of Mt. Moriah.

Sunday we decided to do the Lehman Cave tour in Great Basin National Park. The 90 minute tour was awesome and highly recommended. It's a different world some 300 feet below the surface of the earth.

Mt. Moriah Hike - My rating: *** of out 5. It's worth hiking Mt. Moriah, but doubtful if most people would do the hike more than once. This hike will soon appear in the Member's Only section of this web site.

Notes: All the books at the summit are full and need to be replaced. Drive time from Vegas to the trailhead is five hours. A high clearance vehicle is recommended.

Question: Which state has the most caves?