Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A 25 Mile Day Hike in a Storm

When I used to read reports about people backpacking 20, 25, even 30 miles per day, I thought that kind of mileage was reserved for the icons in our sport such as Ray Jardine, Ryan Jordan, and Andrew Skurka. I now know you don't have to be an athlete to hike long distances in a day.

Saturday started out much like the weekend before, with rain in the forecast, and Juggy and I deciding to do the same hike I wrote about in my It's Just Walking post from last week. This time we intended on adding a 6 mile loop around White Rock Mountain to make it a 25 mile day, so we got an early start at 6:30am. This week we were well rested and energized from our pasta dinner the night before.

Unlike last weekend, the storm was here to stay. The rain turned into freezing rain and then snow. A wonderful treat for us desert dwellers!

In about an hour the snow storm had changed the colorful scene into an almost black and white version of itself, a beautiful transition that made some parts of the trail hard to follow.

We stopped to take a short break under the partial shelter of a tree...my DriDucks jacket was doing a great job of keeping me dry from both the precipitation and perspiration.

When we got to White Rock Mountain, it was decision time. Last week this was the half way point of our 19 mile day, and this week we had made it there 25 minutes faster even with the adverse conditions. We decided to go for it and started to make our way around the mountain. Heading west around the back side, we were treated to this wonderful scene!

A short video walking through this beautiful area...

Looking back down into this little valley that we had climbed out of many times before, it was a new experience being covered in snow.

The sun came out for about 45 minutes, making the snow sparkle.

By the time we made it around to the East side of White Rock Mountain, much of the snow had already melted. Standing here at approximately mile 14, you get a good view of how far you have left to go. The trail wraps around to the right (out of the frame), and to the base of those mountains in the distance, then follows them around to Wilson's Pimple (shown in the first photo) and back down to where we parked.

Towards the end of the day it started to snow again, then it got very windy. We high tailed it out and back to where we had parked, completing the 25 miles in just under 10 hours...with 45 minutes of daylight to spare. This may seem like a marathon hike (technically it almost is), but I can tell you Juggy and I are not atheletes...just dedicated hikers training for some epic backpacking trips this year. I think we saw a total of 5 or 6 other hikers all day...they must have all been hiding from this gorgeous weather!


  1. Great pics! Spent a half day on the Pine Creek trail last Feb. It was at least 65 degrees and beautiful. Next time, I'll dedicate multiple days to Red Rock. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Thanks Jake,
    Pine Creek is very cool...on this hike I went right by it as well as Oak Creek and Ice Box Canyons. Most people don't look past the lights and spectacle of Las Vegas to see all the natural beauty that this valley is surrounded by.

  3. What a beautiful hike. At least somebody got some snow from that storm - it was supposed to lay some on us here in the Bay Area but the total was decidedly unimpressive.

    Stunning photography as always.

  4. Ryan Jordan a high mileage icon? Founder, innovator, smart guy, etc. - definitely. But I bet he hasn't done a 25 mile day since his stints leading the scouts many moons ago. Stick with Justin Lichter, Francis Tapon, Andrew Skurka, Ray Jardine and you can't go wrong.

  5. Mr. Anon,
    I have to respectfully disagree with you comment on Mr. Jordan...check out his Wilderness Trekking classes...you might be able to get in the Sept class :-) http://ryanjordan.com/services