North Loop Raintree at Mt. Charleston

IMG_0351Maggie and I set out again for another run at the North Loop. This is her third, my second time heading up. It has altitude and steepness. Two things we need in preparation for the looming trek. First, thanks to Jim, her husband, for being so kind as to lend her to me today, the start of his fabulous birthday weekend!

So up we went and this time no hot spots on my heels. It is a steep 3 miles to the Raintree, a 3000 year old Bristle-cone Pine yes…I will wait while you read it again but it is true! The first section was much easier than last weekend. We hit the boyscout camp and had a snack and a rest and a great visit.  Then we hit the 7 sets of switchbacks! I am not gonna lie. This was a grueling section designed to brake me. And at several spots it nearly did. Today, Maggie decided to hang back with me and with my slow pace, that gave her a chance to drink in the beauty of the trail.IMG_0360 For me, as always, it was hard work. But that is what I signed up for.

A lot of the Bristle-cones are dead either from past fire or just life going out of them. The strike an ominous pose. They are so cool and eerie to look at!IMG_0358 Reminds me of Tim Burton movie art! Who knows, maybe he hiked these hills!

Once we got to the ridge which sits about 10,000 feet we rested again. I told Maggie I did not think I had any in the tank to drop down to the tree and come back up for our ultimate decent. But she kept encouraging me that that leg was nothing like the murderous switchbacks we had just finished. So I bit and dow to the rain tree we went. And I am so glad for her prodding me on because it truly is the tree of a lifetime!IMG_0380IMG_0373

We spent some time there just enjoying the day and headed back. We stopped back at the boy scout camp. IF you look closely, you will see the stratosphere tower! IMG_0400

We left there and all our media was threatening to die, so we hoofed it back without stops for additional pictures. It was a long day. A good day. One that gave lots of information to us for the final preparations for our IncaTrek!

Here are some more sights of the day…ENJOY!


Only 8 more miles to the top of Charleston!


Maggie in between the two trunks of the 3000 year old Rain Tree




Close up of teh Bristle COne Pine in its prime….only several hundreed years old.


View of Mummy through the Pines


About WhelanTrek

The mountains are in my blood and Everest has been a symbol to so many areas of my life. I blog about adventures and life in between.

Posted on August 8, 2014, in Hiking, Machu Picchu and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This sounds like a very good preparation day for your upcoming big event! Good for you for hanging in there and getting to visit that magnificent tree.


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