Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hiking and Photography - Carl P.

Hey everyone Carl here. Since Branch was cool enough to open up his blog for contributions from club members I’d thought I’d give it a whirl. So here goes.

Bridge Mtn - Red Rock Canyon
Many of you already know that I love to take photographs and sometimes I get pretty lucky and get a good shot. For me hiking is a means to take great photographs. Hiking with the club takes me to places I’ve never been before and probably wouldn’t be able to get to without someone like Branch or Mike or one of the other organizers. While I am an organizer and a very experienced hiker in my own right, some of the routes we take would be way too dangerous to attempt by myself. So hiking with the group adds a level of safety that I (and my wife) really appreciate.
We are very lucky here in Las Vegas. We have Red Rock with its awesome sandstone peaks and canyons which are great for hiking, climbing and scrambling and we have the Spring Mountains (Mt. Charleston and environs) which provide a high altitude escape from the heat during the hot summer months. And, they are home to the largest grove of Bristlecone Pine trees on the planet. The Bristlecone Pine is the oldest living organism with some specimens nearing 5,000 years of age. That’s not a typo. Some of the specimens here in the Spring Mountains are among the most beautiful I have had a chance to photograph. They are by far my favorite subjects and in my humble opinion one of the most fascinating organisms anywhere. For more on the Bristlecone just Google it.
Subway in Zion
Hiking is also one of the best ways I know to get and stay fit. It provides an excellent cardio workout and the class 3 and 4 scrambling adds great upper body training. As well as coordination, balance and core strengthening. But perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of hiking is the effect it has on my well-being. When we hike to the beautiful canyons of Red Rock or the lofty peaks of Mt. Charleston it has a very calming and soothing effect on me. In these difficult times going for a good, hard hike is just a great way to stay grounded and put life in its proper perspective. It reminds me of what’s important and to takes my mind off of the mundane troubles of everyday life.

I’ve been hiking all around the southwest since I moved here almost 20 years ago. I joined the 52 Peak Club last summer and have around a dozen or so cards. I’ve hiked most of the peaks, but most of them before the club. So, I’ll just have to do them again! Las Vegas provides a great jumping off place for trips to at least 10 National Parks within a 1 day drive and quite a few National Monuments, National Forests, State Parks and endless amounts of Wilderness. The Las Vegas based hiker is truly blessed. Right here I will shamelessly plug Branch’s books (Hiking Las Vegas) and website: hikinglasvegas.com. I also have a couple of websites you can visit to view some more of my photos www.mephotoman.comand http://picasaweb.google.com/mephotoman
Bristlecone in Mt. Charleston
Carl P., 52er, Asst. Organizer